The Anna Nicole Smith Lifetime movie The Anna Nicole Story seems to have come out of nowhere. I say that because Smith died in 2007, and Lifetime is known for churning out their based-on-a-true-story fare as soon as humanly possible. Need an example? Just look at a little movie they’re airing in a couple of weeks about Jodi Arias, the woman who was convicted of murder mere weeks ago. That is some high-speed filmmaking right there. The only thing more impressive would be them airing the movie before the conviction and portraying the exact same outcome. So what took them so long with Anna Nicole Smith? It’s certainly the type of movie Lifetime lives for. Tragic female-centered high-profile story with drama drama drama. But now that I’ve watched the movie’s trailer and done a little research, I think I know what the wait was for. This movie seems legit.
Before you even know the people involved, the trailer will make you say, “Hmmm.” It stars Agnes Bruckner as Smith, and it’s surprisingly tasteful and sympathetic, as much as you can be with a story like Anna Nicole Smith’s. The best word I can pick to describe it is “sad.” There’s not much to laugh at here, as you can usually count on with Lifetime promos. That haunting version of “Fame” that plays is appropriate for Smith’s own twisted version of celebrity. The imagery is at times artsy-looking, and there’s no dialogue for most of the trailer so they’re not selling any corny lines. The whole tone led me to remember the events of Smith’s life with sympathy and sadness instead of the ridicule or groans you might expect from a TV movie about her life. I’m not saying this movie is going to be a masterpiece, but it’s not what I thought it would be coming from the network that brought us Liz & Dick.
Once I looked into the people involved, it made more sense. First of all, the movie was directed by Mary Harron, whom you might recognize as the director of American Psycho. Lifetime’s not messing around here. Add to that the presence of well-known actors like Martin Landau, Cary Elwes, Virginia Madsen and Adam Goldberg, and it looks like Lifetime took its time for a reason.
So do we have a legitimately good movie on our hands here? We’ll have to find out when it premieres June 29.