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Grey Gardens is an American entry into the cinéma verité documentary style film. This one however, is a fascinating look into the lives of the rich and useless. The subjects are related to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis which makes them even more fascinating. Really. The directors of this film are considered pioneers of the documentary film. This one revolves around Mother, daughter and their decaying mansion. The daughter cannot let go of the past, they snipe at each other, reliving the past, and the heartfelt, raw emotions involved in a daughter giving up her hopes and dreams of an acting career to take care of her ailing and aging mother. Poor thing, she only has money and a mansion to soothe the wounds of her unfulfilled dreams. This documentary is worth seeing because it is exceptionally well done. After all, don't we all want to watch the whining, wealthy, elite on screen so we can take a peek into their everyday lives?
Although it's typically described as a cult phenomenon, Grey Gardens is something more than that by now. The 1975 documentary by brothers Albert and David Maysles (who filmed the proceedings and co-directed with Muffie Meyer and Ellen Hovde) has been turned into a hit Broadway show, with plans for a feature film in the offing; it's also the title of a song by Rufus Wainwright, and has been referenced on TV shows like The Gilmore Girls, The L Word, and even Rugrats. In the process, Grey Gardens has become part of the cultural zeitgeist, at least in the gay community, a circumstance that no doubt had some influence on the decision to package it with The Beales of Grey Gardens, a 90-minute assemblage of outtakes and other unused material from the original film supervised by Albert Maysles and released in 2006.
One wonders if any of this would have transpired had Edith Ewing Bouvier (known as "Big Edie") and daughter Edith Bouvier Beale ("Little Edie") merely been garden variety eccentrics, instead of quasi-celebrities (the aunt and cousin, respectively, of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, nee Bouvier). On the other hand, there's a certain can't-turn-away-from-a-car-accident fascination that comes with watching the two Edies at home in their rundown, squalid East Hampton, Long Island estate (they were ordered to fix the place up before the documentary was shot, but it's still a dump, albeit a large one). With her endless parade of different "costumes," every one of them featuring a scarf, a towel, or some such material wrapped around her head (then in her mid-fifties, she had an oddball fashion sense that's a big part of her now-iconic status), Little Edie is quite a character. Considerably less appealing is her mother, a bitter, poisonous woman who apparently pressured her daughter to move back home and care for her after Big Edie's husband quite understandably abandoned her in the early 1950s. "My whole life, I've been ground down and insulted every minute," Little Edie confides to the camera, but she gives as good as she gets; the two of them squabble endlessly, mostly about past events and the careers they might have had (Big Edie as a singer, her daughter as a dancer and model). There are obviously many viewers who find this sort of terminal dysfunction appealing, even charming. For others, words like annoying and tedious may be more appropriate. And while The Beales of Grey Gardens offers more evidence that the two women actually cared for one another (there's also a good deal more interaction between the Beales and the filmmakers, along with various other visitors), it's essentially just more of the same. --Sam Graham
Stills from Grey Gardens (Click for larger image)
I don't know how this story got past me.. I saw the remake on amazon prime.. I loved it, what a crazy story!Published 2 days ago by BambiAnn
I felt guilty for finding it so amusing. A little lull about 20 minutes to the ending.Published 6 days ago by Aimee Davenport
The first time I watched it I found it depressing. After I thought about the two Edie's and realized they comforted each other and didn't want outside help I felt differently.Published 29 days ago by Juliette R. Courtney
Jaw-dropping documentary. Wish I would have seen it sooner. Mesmerizing and dysfunctional mother and daughter, living with cats, cheap food and a house that's falling down around... Read morePublished 29 days ago by jodigirl11
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|If you like Grey Gardens, you must see ALMA!!!||
Thanks for the tip - I'll check it out..(Alma)
Jun 28, 2009 by Deborah S. Bruzzo | See all 6 posts
No, she didn't have cancer. She lost her hair and eyebrows when she was younger.
Oct 21, 2006 by S. Williams | See all 14 posts
|I am obsessed with this||
I agree that there is an eerie addiction to this particular story. Ever since I watched it, I can't forget it, and the Beales (especially Edie) are always in my mind now. Weird, but I rather like it.
Jan 24, 2007 by J. Emerson | See all 7 posts
|Little Edie's Fbulous Gold Pin||
I dont know where but I think its fabulous too. I was surprised to find out that it was costume jewelry since she prized that piece so much.
Jul 8, 2007 by Jeff King | See all 5 posts
|Grey Gardens the musical||
Yes! I just saw it on Friday night. I'm absolutely in love with it. The music is beautiful, and Christine Ebersole and Mary Louise Wilson are absolute geniuses.
Nov 6, 2006 by Beatrice Stockwell | See all 2 posts
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