'Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer' Review: True story of scheming glam wife
Spoilers for 'Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer'
The Lifetime film 'Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer' shows the disastrous circumstances that occur when money is all you get married for. The film is based on the true story of Celeste Beard, who was convicted for the murder of her husband, millionaire Steven Beard. Celeste was a waitress at a country club in Austin and used to serve Steven his nightly cocktail. Celeste, in the film, clearly sees Steven as a ticket to a better life, for her and her daughters. However, things begin to go wrong, when all Steven's generosity is not enough to curb Celeste's greed. In 'Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer', Celeste is asked by Beard's daughter after his death, if she ever even really loved Steven or she only ever cared about his money. Celeste responds saying of course she loved him, she loved all ten million dollars of him. It's a rather cheesy line, but thankfully the rest of the film isn't.
Lifetime's 'Secrets Of A Gold Digger Killer' makes for interesting viewing and Celeste makes for a fascinating character to analyze. Julie Benz known best for her roles on 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', has made a career out of playing the ditzy blonde, but in this role, there's a sense of foreboding and calculation beneath the glamorous exterior, which is exactly what is needed for a role like Celeste. If you enjoy films on true crime, then other Lifetime films such as 'Gone Mom: The Disappearance of Jennifer Dulos' and ' A House on Fire' may also be films that will interest you.
The other actors are also well cast. Eli Gabay plays the affable and generous millionaire Steven Beard with aplomb, especially when he realizes he's probably made the biggest mistake of his life marrying Celeste. A special note should be made of Justine Warrington's portrayal of Celeste's friend Tracey Tarlton, who Celeste meets at a mental health facility, while under treatment for depression. Celeste soon woos the unstable Tracey and convinces her that Steven is abusing her. She brainwashes Tracey into believing that Steven must be gotten rid of if they want to be together. It is finally Tracey who pulls the trigger and kills Steven while he is asleep in his own bed. Justine plays the jilted lover to perfection. There is a particularly poignant moment in the film when Tracey says in court, that in spite of her mental health struggles, she is not delusional, she is the one that has been deluded when she realized that Steven was only ever a loving husband to Celeste.
However, Celeste Beard's many manipulations finally catch up with her in the film. Celeste's own daughter, unbeknownst to Celeste, records a conversation with a drunk Celeste where she gives her game away, talking about how she has hired a killer to get rid of Tracey before she shares anything more with the police about Steven's death.
Celeste Beard was finally sentenced to life in prison for her crimes.
'Secrets of a Gold Digger Killer' premiered on Lifetime on Sunday, June 13, at 8/7c.