The new trailer for Lifetime’s I Am Elizabeth Smart doesn’t spare viewers any discomfort, opening right up with the moment Elizabeth Smart is forced from her Salt Lake City bed in the middle of the night in June 2002.
“Get up or I will kill you,” we first hear a man rasp, before a close-up of his bearded face snaps into focus. “And I will kill your family. I have a knife at your neck.” It’s jarring for anyone who hasn’t been pulled from their bed by a madman; one can only imagine what it’s like for the real Elizabeth Smart herself to see, even with 15 years worth of distance between the onscreen version and the night itself.
But Smart is nothing if not open about her ordeal, in which she was abducted by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee when she was 14-years-old, and forced by them into nine months of horrific physical and psychological abuse.
As a producer on the film, she offered her entire firsthand account of her time with Mitchell and Barzee, and according to People, she also visited the set, where she took a smiling photo with the actress who played her, Alana Boden.
“It was a real honor to play such a strong and inspirational woman,” Boden told People. “What she went through was unimaginable. But I wanted people to know she’s bright, she didn’t lose hope, she’s a true survivor. It was so important that these points came across on camera.”
Smart has said that she’s pleased with how her life was depicted in the film, saying in July:
“I’m not apprehensive about what the audience might take away. It is the best worst movie I’ve ever seen. It was so well done and accurate. I’m very proud of it.”
I am Elizabeth Smart premieres on November 18.