Lorena (2019)

lorena poster 2019 poster amazon prime documentary
8.5 Overall Score

Where are they now and how event changed things is the strongest aspect

Parts 2 and 3 seem drawn out

lorena title card episode guide amazon prime

A trip in the way-back machine

June 23, 1993, the lives of Lorena Bobbitt and her husband John Wayne Bobbitt became household names.  Lorena Bobbitt severed the penis of her husband and tossed it out of the window of her car…and everyone had an opinion.  Men and women saw the case different, and both Lorena and Wayne had their day in court.  The effects the case had on society since that night are explored with the players involved.

Lorena is a four-part documentary series released on Amazon Prime.  Directed by Joshua Rofé, the documentary had Jordan Peele as a producer and was released on February 15, 2019.  The series was released to positive reviews.

lorena documentary episode guide bobbitt amazon prime

Should she have gone to jail? Should he have gone to jail?

I can remember the furor about the Lorena Bobbitt story.  As a guy, the idea of waking up to that was horrifying…and a kid, that was as deep as it got.  It seemed like at the time, there were just tons of different stories grabbing attention from the Long Island Lolita, Pamela Smart, the Menendez Brothers, and of course O.J. Simpson later…the Bobbits’ story was the one that was danced around the most since much of the events were taboo for TV.  Lorena is an in-depth look at the events and the aftermath.

The documentary is aptly compared to O.J.:  Made in America.  The series is about more than the event.  It is about the media, the treatment of women, double-standards, and what that does to the people involved.  It also dives into how the idea of the crime was reported since aspects of the crime were not generally talked about on TV.  While pro-Lorena, the documentary gives both parties to state their case.

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Lorena’s got her life together…

Lorena Bobbitt is a question in herself.  There is a language barrier for her and being a foreigner is part of what kept her trapped in a relationship.  The documentary doesn’t shy away from the fact that much of Lorena’s motivation for marriage was to get United States Citizenship, but that doesn’t leave her open for abuse or sub-human treatment.  Even if she had a fiery temper (which she might have at the time), it feels like she had a genuine break from reality and the verdict in her side was just.  At the time, she felt it was wrong to go to the institution, but from the documentary, it seems like that event helped stabilize her.

John Bobbitt is part of the documentary but doesn’t come off well.  While he “won” and stayed out of jail, he didn’t benefit from being forced to confront his issues. In 1993, it was harder to prove abuse due to lack of documentation, but in 2018, he’s shown a cycle of abuse that throws out any questions of “if he did it”.  The fourth part of the documentary does go to show how that he was unfortunately forced into the cycle of abuse at an early age and that might have an effect on him that he has never even realized.

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…the same can’t necessarily be said about John Wayne

The series is composed of interviews and media clips from both during the trials and today.  It is crafted smartly though if you binge watch all four parts, there is some overlap and repetition.  Though it isn’t a Dateline True-Crime story, it also feels that a few portions of the story are overly extended (parts 2 and 3 could have probably been whittled down into one part).

Lorena is an interesting exploration that feels contemporary with everything going on in the fight for equality.  I feel that the portions of the documentary that explore the effects of being a “National Headline” are the most powerful and interesting (aka “where are they now” studied in depth), and I almost wish that the documentary had focused more on this.  A person noted how the Lorena Bobbitt trial would be covered today and stated that it probably wouldn’t be that different with FOX News taking one side and CNN taking another as the two figures slug it out in court…while I agree with that, I also think that sadly people maybe wouldn’t have patience for a court case and would just want a quick wrap-up as another sensationalized case takes its place.  The biggest change between 1993 and 2018 is maybe that we’ve become even more desensitized to an event like Lorena Bobbitt’s actions…the internet is full of them.

Lorena—Complete Episode Guide:

lorena 2019 episode 1 the night of tabloids bobbitt

“The Night Of”

1.1       The Night Of Release Date:  02/15/19

On the night of June 23, 1993, Lorena Bobbitt severs the penis of her husband John Wayne Bobbitt and throws the penis.  Rescuing and reattaching the penis, police try to piece together the chain of events.  As Lorena tells of years of abuse at the hands of her husband, the media and people of the United States and the world learn of the story…and the people surrounding the events find fame and fortune.  The John Wayne Bobbitt trial is coming to Manassas and the world is watching!

lorena episode 2 a woman in trouble wedding john wayne bobbitt amazon prime

“A Woman in Trouble”

1.2       A Woman in Trouble Release Date:  02/15/19

Lorena Bobbitt has lost her rape trial against her husband John Bobbitt and now is facing her own trial.  As reports of domestic abuse surface against John Wayne Bobbitt, questions about the reporting of the domestic violence rise.

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“An Irresistible Impulse”

1.3       An Irresistible Impulse Release Date:  02/15/19

As the trial of Lorena Bobbitt continues, more sensational media rises with Tanya Harding’s story coming out.  Lorena’s state of mind on the night of June 23, 1993 comes into question.  A surprise witness for the defense comes forward, Lorena’s chances of avoid jail could change.

lorena episode 4 the cycle of abuse john wayne bobbit arrest

“The Cycle of Abuse”

1.4       The Cycle of Abuse Release Date:  02/15/19

Lorena is found innocent due to reason of insanity, and the debate over the verdict is discussed in the media.  John finds work in the porn industry and suffers a setback when he goes for elective surgery.  Lorena faces a mental institution and faces bill struggles while trying to escape the spotlight.

Related Links:

O.J.:  Made in America (2016)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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