Jennifer Lawrence is set to play Agnes Magnusdottir, the last woman who was executed for murder in 1830 in Iceland. The film is based on the book Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.
Agnes was born into a life of hardship on 27 October 1795, just ten years after the catastrophic Laki volcanic eruption in south west Iceland. The lingering toxic gases had poisoned the crops and many farm animals starved to death – and, by the time Agnes was born, infant deaths were at an all-time high. She survived into adulthood, the daughter of unmarried farm workers, and began doing adult’s work when she was just eight-years-old.
Kent’s book and the film adaptation begins after Agnes has been sentenced to death for killing two men and setting fire to their home.
In northern Iceland, 1829, Agnes Magnusdottir is condemned to death for her part in the brutal murder of two men.
Agnes is sent to wait out the time leading to her execution on the farm of District Officer Jon Jonsson, his wife and their two daughters. Horrified to have a convicted murderess in their midst, the family avoids speaking with Agnes. Only Toti, the young assistant reverend appointed as Agnes' spiritual guardian, is compelled to try to understand her, as he attempts to salvage her soul. As the summer months fall away to winter and the hardships of rural life force the household to work side by side, Agnes' ill-fated tale of longing and betrayal begins to emerge. And as the days to her execution draw closer, the question burns: did she, or didn't she?
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