Plot: Jodi Arias (Tania Raymonde) has had some bad relationships, as she tends to date jerks and rush into romance, but she is certain her latest love interest is going to be her last. After all, Travis (Jesse Lee Soffer) seems like a nice guy, with an interest in religion and leading a good life. He gives motivational speeches about the Mormon faith and how to lead a wholesome lifestyle, though his passionate sexual encounters with Jodi go against those beliefs. While she falls hard for him, Travis remains distant and seems to only be interested in Jodi for sex, hiding her from his friends and doing little with her in the public eye. Jodi tries to change so he will want her, even converting to Mormonism, but Travis continues to pull away except when sex is involved. Can Jodi realize that she and Travis are not meant to be and let him go, or will things to go a dark place that no one could expect?
Entertainment Value: The case of Jodi Arias mesmerized an entire nation, as tales of her obsession, wild sexual adventures, and involvement in her lover’s murder became almost around the clock news. Dirty Little Secret tells Arias’ narrative in a one-sided approach that demonizes her and glosses over Travis’ abusive tendencies, but it is still a fun, wild melodrama from Lifetime. The real life events are much too risque and over the top for a made for television movie, but Lifetime does loosen the cuffs and allow a little more sleaze to sneak in. The pace is brisk and there’s no slow stretches, so the melodrama is relentless and of course, the story focuses on what Lifetime does best, an unstable, obsessed female on the hunt. Tania Raymonde plays Jodi and turns in an uncanny performance, capturing the look and mannerisms of Arias, while also dialing the melodrama through the roof. She is immense fun to watch here, making the most of Jodi’s wild behavior and odd persona, while Jesse Lee Soffer is rather bland, which seems about right for Travis. David Zayas also shows up in a small role, but this one belongs to Raymonde and her over the top, super fun performance. While this isn’t accurate or in depth enough to satiate true crime fanatics, fans of melodramatic, tabloid style thrillers will have a blast with Dirty Little Secret.
This one pushes the envelope a little as far as Lifetime movies are concerned, even giving us a slightly out of focus bare ass at one point. The movie has a lot of sexual content, most of which is verbal, but I appreciated that Lifetime allowed more leniency than usual, given how crucial the sex is to Jodi’s narrative. There’s some blood in the finale of course, but the active violence is mild. But the movie does paint the scene with crimson to drive home how vicious and brutal the attack was, so it doesn’t sugar coat what went down, either. The dialogue has drama, sleaze, emotional outbursts, and obsessive tendencies, all you could want from a Lifetime movie and more. If you’re familiar with the real life case, you will recognize a lot of the same terms and quotes used here, such as the infamous “three hole wonder” comment. On the craziness front, Jodi is an absolute goldmine of melodrama and emotional instability, more than enough to balance out the rest of the elements, which are rather basic by comparison. The movie piles on the light sleaze and tabloid style, so it puts up some solid points.
Overall Insanity: 7/10