Lifetime TV Movie review: Amanda Knox– Murder on Trial in Italy

Who wasn’t riveted by the case of “Foxy Knoxy,” the American exchange student in Perugia, Italy accused of murdering her housemate? It had it all: kinky sex, an Italian boyfriend, a brutal stabbing. What we knew little about was Amanda [Hayden Panettiere] herself and how she spent her time in Italy prior to this sensational case. Is Amanda guilty or has she been framed up by her boyfriend, the police, circumstantial evidence and shoddy police work. Amanda Knox. Murder on Trial in Italy leaves everything really open-ended so the viewer is wondering if Amanda was involved in her housemate Meredith’s vile murder.

The movie considers the two months before the murder. It shows how Amanda got along with the housemate Meredith [Amanda Fernando Stevens] as well as how she met and started to spend much of her free time with Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito [Paolo Romio]. There’s one point where Amanda and Meredith fight because Meredith accuses her of not cleaning up in the apartment enough. But then at another time, Amanda confides in Meredith that she met a guy that looks like Harry Potter and they were from completely different cultures but she felt it was destiny. Once Amanda’s arrested, her mom [Marcia Gay Harden] flies in from Seattle. Marcia Gay Harden is always good in any role and this is no different. She’s strong and never takes no for an answer as Amanda’s distraught mother.

Hayden Panettiere [I Love You, Beth Cooper, Heroes] does a commendable job in making viewers completely confused as to Amanda’s innocence or guilt. It’s a serious role for her and allows her to show range in the conflicted, often detached nature of Amanda, who still remains a mystery to most Americans. As my mom said [she’s my Lifetime movie-watcher companion]: “This girl is a little strange about it all.” As Amanda, Hayden uses facial expressions and wordplay to make us wonder if Amanda was there or not while Meredith was being raped and stabbed. Of the 40 cuts, bruises and stab wounds [including the lethal severed carotid artery] found on Meredith’s body, the police say, “It’s almost like they were toying with her.” Some of the DNA didn’t get collected for weeks. The crime scene seemed corrupted and there’s much circumstantial evidence but as most Americans know, Amanda Knox is sitting in an Italian jail right now.

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy leaves viewers with many questions about Amanda’s role in her housemate’s murder, while providing insight into Amanda’s unusual behavior and nonchalant personality.

Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy premieres Monday, February 21 at 9PM ET/PT on Lifetime.

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