on June 21, 2007
This film got an exceptional amount of poor reviews by people who had a faint idea of who Edie Sedgwick was and the effect she still has on people today. She was the underground, self-indulgent, addict version of Audrey Hepburn. Everyone wanted to be her. She couldn't help herself, but everyone wanted to help her until they realized the enormity of that task. Edie was a poor little rich girl, yes, but she was raised to be that way. She was someone who was heavily medicated from a young age, someone who was taught to go to others for your problems. She wanted to escape, but the foundation of who she was was never solid enough for her to make it on her own, hence her inability to be completely independent. Enter Andy Warhol, the sychophant who relished in her beauty, charm, and complete lack of self-awareness. She was everything he wasn't, and vice versa. Once Warhol had capitalized on her and milked her dry, he left her wanting, so she found other means. Therewithin is her demise.
Knowing Sedgwick, and especially the nuances of this film, makes you look at it in a different light. The too-fast pace marked by subtleties such as "is the salmon fresh?". If you don't know that era, those people, the Warholian group, you'll dislike this film. Simply because you won't appreciate how much went into developing the characters. Any press will show you that Sienna worked on the role well over a year, Guy lost loads of weight, and Miller had to master a voice that crept away from the person who possessed it in a very short time. Not an easy task.
It's a fantastic film. If nothing else, appreciate the artistry of it.
on May 10, 2008
I have been a huge fan of Edie Sedgwick for the last fourteen years. I was very excited when I heard that a "real" studio was actually going to try to make a biopic about Edie. That excitement began to wane when reports that actual Factory cohorts thought the idea of the film itself was disgusting. Turns out that the old Factory crew was spot on. This movie couldn't be further from Edie's actual life.
Having poured over Edie's classic biography (Edie: An American Girl), it is more than apparent that the filmmakers took "artistic liberties" to new heights. What they couldn't find to be true, they made up. Timelines don't always make sense and people who weren't even that involved in Edie's life take center stage. That said, Sienna Miller's portrayal of Edie is quite good. In fact, the only redeeming quality in the movie is Miller's spot on impersonation of Edie - the girl did her research. Too bad the script (which was presumably written by a few people) wasn't as well researched.
My real problem with this movies lies with one thing - the character "Billy Quinn" (who is simply credited as "musician"). Hayden Christensen portrays "Quinn" as a thinly veiled Bob Dylan-esque musician who tries to show Edie the shallowness of the Warhol Factory and ultimately becomes the thing that tears Edie and Warhol apart. Anyone that read anything about this film before (or after) seeing it knows that Dylan repeatedly denied being involved with Edie and threatened to sue if he was portrayed in the film. Instead of getting rid of the character completely, the director instead decided to keep him, give a new name and carry on. I don't believe anyone was fooled or didn't guess whom Christensen was actually playing.
While I understand that biopics are rarely full of all truths, there is simply no proof that Edie was romantically involved with Bob Dylan. In fact it has been suggested that any sort of romance between Edie and Dylan was probably more of a one-sided figment of Edie's imagination. Whatever the real story is, I found the whole concept of the character to be uncomfortable. I suppose the filmmakers thought that Edie having an affair with the notoriously private Dylan was much more interesting than the real life affair she had with the less famous Bob Neuwirth (Dylan's best friend at the time).
Edie's real reason for leaving the Factory had more do to with her drug use and the fact that she felt she should try to shoot for real stardom. Instead, "Factory Girl" portrays Edie as a somewhat helpless girl who is caught between two powerful men from two very different worlds, both of which she wants to belong to. As flawed as Edie was one thing is certain, she did what she wanted when she wanted. Her decision to leave the Factory was most likely her own (she stated at various times that she wanted Warhol to pay her for her work in his films) and likely wasn't based on the affection of any man. The fact that the filmmakers sunk to such depths to get the story they wanted, no matter how untrue it was, is what is the most insulting. I'd rather no movie be made about Edie than the lies and fabrications that made up "Factory Girl".
If you're interested in finding out more about Edie, don't rely on this movie. Instead, read the few books that cover her life and go on facts, not rumors or hearsay. Edie might have been a cultural footnote, but everyone deserves to have their story told in the most honest way possible. "Factory Girl" fails on all fronts and only goes to show that as years go by, people think they can just reinvent history to suit them.
The sad thing is, a few of Edie's family members (her widower, who appears as a taxi driver in one scene, and her sole surviving brother Jonathan) participated in the film. That, in and of itself, actually lends some credibility to a movie than deserves none whatsoever.
on February 20, 2007
FACTORY GIRL is a portrait of Edie Sedgwick(an outstanding performance by Sienna Miller),born into a well-to-do
back East" family,whose restless ambition and need to be loved brings her to the avant-garde art scene of 1960's New York.She is free,bubbly,vivacious and most of all,a true innocent who gets caught up in the free love,sex,drugs and music of the Cultural-Anti-Establishment Revolution.Her closest "confidantes" are the artists of Andy Warhol's FACTORY,Andy Warhol himself (played by a practically unrecognizable Guy Pearce who plays his role with such creepy coolness and cruelty),and the music and fashion icons of the time.What at first is fun becomes dark and deadly as we watch Edie literally devoured by it all.These people are heartless and will discard you like yesterdays leftovers!Those who so shallowly pretend to be her closest friends stand by numbly (or drugged) as they watch her decent into oblivion which is horrific and almost painfully unwatchable.This is not a pleasant film to watch,but it is so well crafted and acted that one viewing makes it unforgetable.Reminiscent of films such as GIA and JUDY GARLAND:ME AND MY SHADOWS, the outcome is sadly predictable for these once bright stars.
Admittedly, this movie is my first foray into the interesting life story of Edie Sedgwick, one of Andy Warhol's brightest stars and hanger-on's in Warhol's studio, which became known as 'The Factory'. It's definitely a great place to start to peak your interest in the story of Andy and Edie, and the tragedy of Edie's life.
Edie was a blue-blood from an important family, an artist who wanted to explore the big city of New York. She meets Andy Warhol and the two become fast friends. Andy sees in Edie something he can use, and stars Edie is several of his underground movies. The two of them became a sensation, and Edie was suddenly a sweetheart of the New York art scene. Exposure to the wild and willing deviance of Warhol's Factory soon led to Edie's use of drugs. Her trust fund was running low. Then Edie meets Billy Quinn (in real life it was Bob Dylan).
Warhol disapproved of Edie's relationship with Quinn (Dylan) and began to shun her. Edie was devastated by the estrangement of Warhol, her best friend, so she chose Warhol over Quinn, only to discover that Warhol had already written her off as yesterday's news. Edie spiraled into her drug addiction, her trust fund ran out, and her relationship with her rigid parents was already strained past the breaking point. She had no where to go and no one to turn to. Except drugs.
'Factory Girl' is a well-done film. Sienna Miller as Edie was perky and perfect for the role. Hayden Christianson was above his usual performances as Billy Quinn. Guy Pearce was stunningly perfect as Andy Warhol, and watch for SNL's Jimmy Fallon as Edie's friend Chuck Wein. The acting was excellent, the atmosphere captured the 60's, and the photography added that tiny bit of craziness that inundated the era. The movie woke my interest in the Factory, and I was recommended two books, "Edie: American Girl" by Jean Stein and "Factory Made: Warhol And The Sixties" by Steven Watson.
If this subject fascinates you at all, 'Factory Girl' is a great place to start. I recommend watching this film. Enjoy!
on July 17, 2007
Personally, I'm glad the movie focuses only on 1965-1966, when Edie rose and fell with equal velocity. The script is flawed, but not fatally. Sienna Miller manages to evoke Edie--her intelligence, her smoky voice and aristocratic origins, her wry pixie humor. What the film doesn't have time to explore is her complexity. I could have done without the Bob Dylan character--it's corny, as well as inaccurate-- in real life Dylan had little to do with her rise or fall. It was Bob Neuworth, Dylan's sidekick, that transfixed her. In place of the Dylan subplot, I would rather have seen more solo Edie hitting the party circuit, making films, doing fashion spreads, conquering the media Guerilla style. That would have given Sienna Miller a chance to show more of Edie's strength and pizazz.
In "Factory Girl", Edie's turnabout from happy Queen of Warhol's Factory to ousted junkie is a little too sudden. One or two more transition scenes would have helped. The film depicts Edie's downfall as a result of failed romance & her oust from the Warhol set, but this appears to be innacurate. From what I have read, her ruin was really built into her psychological makeup, it seems. All the demons of her childhood and resulting lack of self esteem (combined-as so often in these "charismatic trainwreck" types--with a huge ego), seem to have created a timebomb, inevitably counting backwards to zero. But she was a beautiful and compelling timebomb, a butterfly captured--temporarily--and studied through Warhol's lens. Andy got the exclusive on her--for she fell apart almost immediately after she stopped appearing in his movies.
Aside from some fashion modelling and the movie "Ciao! Manhattan"--a painful attempt to either resurrect her or capture and exploit her death throes (for she really was dying on film here, spiritually if not physically--and was dead of an overdose only months after filming wrapped), Edie remains otherwise undocumented on celluloid-- flickering through the rest of time in Warhol's unseen vaults. One wonders why the Warhol Estate doesn't release them now that "Factory Girl" is becoming a sleeper hit on DVD. Boxset, anyone?
More than being a model or a movie star though, Edie's real gift seems to have been more of a live phenomenon--as is evidenced by the countless testimonials of those she bewitched or enchanted in person. Yes, she was beautiful (check out the Girl on Fire book if you are in any doubt of her considerable physical charm). She was also intelligent--something that might surprise the uninformed skeptic. And inspite of her exasperating insistence on self-destruction, she was magical. And she made those she touched feel magical too. In a world that seems to be turning more apocalyptic each day, being society's Tinkerbell just may be a more significant achievement than being a good actress. I give props to the film makers for evoking some of Edie's magic then, in this imperfect but interesting and rewatchable study.
on July 19, 2007
A bit too long, and very strange. I thought at the beginning it was going to be in documentary-style format, but it then got started. Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce (as Andy Warhol) were excellent. Since I grew up in the 60s, I could relate to what was going on and the interaction between the characters and situations but those who didn't might find it difficult to follow and get lost. All in all, it could have been a bit shorter, but it definitely spelled out what life was like in the 60s in that type of counter-culture.
Hard to say I love something that was so intensely sad. It did cause me to research Edie and Andy and sure enough, she was a beauty; but, whether Andy was as f'd up as he's made out to be, is probably disputed. Yeah, he's weird; but, that doesn't always mean someone is cruel and in this movie, he was cruel to her...or maybe he was just an incapable psychopath.
I thought about this movie for a couple of days, but it made me sad. For interesting/fascinating, it's 5 stars...but the sadness it left me w/, I just call it 'ok'.
on January 17, 2014
Ya know, a lot of people dont like this movie for whatever reason but Sienna miller is just so frickin pretty and convincing as Edie Sedgwick. You can tell she really studied up on her. This is oddly one of my favorite movies if only for her portrayal of a sad and lonley "superstar". She really makes you want to give her a hug and slap andy warhol in the face. This movie probably deserves a 3 but IMVHO it deserves a 5.
For the concerted effort Sienna Miller puts into her searing portrayal of Warhol protégé and underground celebrity Edie Sedgwick, it would have been rewarding to experience a film that matches her unbridled dramatic impact. Unfortunately, director George Hickenlooper, primarily a documentary filmmaker, seems more focused on eye-catching cinematic techniques - a deliberately artsy mix of overtly dramatic images, grainy film stock and slow-motion photography - than honest character development in this highly fictionalized 2007 account of her brief life. The result feels energetic but ultimately rather cursory in the way he depicts the Manhattan party scene in the mid-1960's, in particular, the Factory, where Warhol let his coterie of drug-addicted fame-seekers gather to make virtually unwatchable films that reflect their constant state of ennui.
With her big raccoon eyes, pre-punk hairdo and flashing smile, Miller bears such a striking resemblance to the real-life Sedgwick that she carries much of the film by the sheer will of her character's Holly Golightly-like sense of exalted self-worth. But like Holly, Sedgwick lacked talent to sustain a film career, and the script leaves Miller to her own devices in connecting us with her character's tormented psyche amid her escalating drug use. On the upside, Guy Pearce accurately captures the discomfiting public image of Warhol down to the familiar narcissistic indifference and manipulative shyness, but his character gradually recedes into the background. At first, Hayden Christensen comes across as amateurish and unintentionally amusing as a Bob Dylan doppelganger, especially since he makes a feeble attempt at capturing the singer's recognizable speech cadences. Just as he manages to transcend the awkwardness of the character's intrusion into the story, he also disappears making his impact in Sedgwick's life feel rather fleeting.
Even though the cryptic screenplay by Captain Mauzner, Aaron Richard Golub and Simon Monjack conveniently paints Warhol and the faux-Dylan as polarizing figures pulling at Sedgwick's soul, the story really comes down to her own inner demons. The problem is that she remains oddly elliptical throughout, and Hickenlooper seems satisfied with leaving us with an impressionistic view of a person who barely warrants our attention forty years later. Among the supporting players, there are quite a familiar faces - Ileana Douglas as Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, Jimmy Fallon as Sedgwick's confidante Chuck Wein, Tara Summers as fellow Warhol protégé Brigid Berlin, Mena Suvari as Brigid's sister Richie, Edward Herrmann as the family attorney, Mary Kate Olsen as a partygoer. However, none of them are given any opportunity to shine.
The 2007 DVD includes several extras of varying interest, the best being an insightful commentary track from Hickenlooper and a thirty-minute documentary on the life of the real Sedgwick that mimics the main film's stylistic touches. There is also a bland ten-minute making-of featurette, a scene that was understandably excised, audition footage of Miller, the original theatrical trailer, and a twenty-minute behind-the-scenes video diary coordinated by Pearce. Despite strong work from Miller and Pearce, the film is only marginally effective as a dramatic vehicle even as Hickenlooper viscerally evokes a fascinating period of history in the arts scene.
on September 2, 2011
Ever since I read Jean Stein's fascinating biography "Edie" some 15 years ago, I've been waiting and hoping for somebody to take on this subject. And while this film does have one major disappointment (the inability to credit the Bob Dylan character as actually being Bob Dylan) Sienna Miller's performance is downright scary in it's authenticity. She completely channels Edie Sedgewick in her appearance, her voice, her spirit - it is very apparent that Ms. Miller did her homework and aced the final. In capturing that era of decadence and emotional squalor this film seems eerily precise, and it draws a very unflattering (but I think accurate) portrait of the Factory scene and Andy Warhol's role as a benign but sadistic manipulator of some very damaged people. Like it's subject, this film is sometimes hard to handle, but it has a lot to say about the nature of money, power and fame, and why having all three isn't all it's cracked up to be.