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Grey Gardens (2009)

Jessica Lange , Drew Barrymore , Michael Sucsy  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jessica Lange, Drew Barrymore, Malcolm Gets, Daniel Baldwin, Ken Howard
  • Directors: Michael Sucsy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, Subtitled, Closed-captioned, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: July 14, 2009
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001WAKFP2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,192 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Grey Gardens" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by executive producers Michael Sucsy, Lucy Barzun Donnelly, and Rachael Horovitz
  • Grey Gardens Then and Now: Compares the feature film with the original 1975 documentary, including interviews with Albert Maysles, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange, filmmaker Michael Sucsy, and others

Editorial Reviews

It's hard to imagine a feature film that could improve upon the classic 1975 Hamptons-gothic documentary Grey Gardens, co-directed by Albert and David Maysles. Yet this Grey Gardens, directed by Michael Sucsy for HBO Films, captures not only the pathos and peculiarity of Edith Beale, mère et fille--aristocrats who were aunt and cousin to former first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy--but it provides something deeper and richer: the background story of the glamorous Beale ladies, and a glimpse at how they slid from gay 1930s high society to sharing rotting living quarters with litters of cats and raccoons.

Drew Barrymore, the Grey Gardens standout, rises to the particular challenge of playing "Little Edie" Beale, whose accent, carriage, and mannerisms have developed their own camp following over the years. Barrymore's performance is a revelation: she captures the weirdness of Edie, but she knows what the documentary fans know--the reality of what Edie once had been, and what she was becoming. Barrymore's performance is delicate and strong, with a hint of sadness underneath the fading ingénue's brave face. Jessica Lange plays "Big Edie," the mother who made more concrete choices to wall herself off from the outside world. Lange is excellent, though Big Edie is a less nuanced character than her daughter, and she seems more content with her lot, perched in her teeming twin bed surrounded by mounds of cats and trash.

The filmmakers pay deep homage to the documentary, and carefully recreate the third lead character of the drama--the East Hampton, N.Y., mansion Grey Gardens itself. The making-of featurette is a must-have for fans of either film, as the filmmakers and actors talk about how they built a three-story facsimile of the home near Toronto (which also stands in for the Manhattan scenes). Also fascinating is the story of how certain beloved sets from the documentary were painstakingly re-created, including the Beales’ yellow bedroom, the entryway that played stage to the dancing aspirations of Little Edie, and the crumbling porch and yard where Edie would pose and prance, decked out in tights, shorts, a pinned-up skirt, and her signature sweater-snood, fastened with a brooch just so. "Well, Mother and I are very entertaining, that's true," says Little Edie, when the Maysles first approach her about cooperating in their documentary. And, happily, viewers of HBO's Grey Gardens could not agree more. --A.T. Hurley

Stills from Grey Gardens (click for larger image)

Product Description

Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens tells the tender, intimate story of an eccentric mother and daughter (both named Edith Bouvier Beale aka "Big and Little Edie"). They were raised as Park Avenue débutantes but withdrew from New York society, taking shelter at their Long Island summer home, "Grey Gardens ." As their wealth and contact with the outside world dwindled, so did their grasp on reality. They were reintroduced to the world when international tabloids learned of a health department raid on their home, and Jackie swooped in to save her relatives. Based on the lives that inspired the Maysles Brothers' classic documentary.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!! A genuinely happy surprise!!! April 19, 2009
As a HUGE fan of "Grey Gardens", I was skeptical of whether this film would be cringe inducing or tolerable. Jessica Lange is a truly GREAT actress, but I could not imagine how even she would be able to pull off Big Edie. The real worry, however, was Drew Barrymore. I've always liked Drew Barrymore, but did not think she had the acting chops to pull this off.

Gladly, I was wrong on all accounts!!!

Jessica Lange is phenomenal, and Drew Barrymore is incredible as Little Edie!! Further, the direction, costumes, music, sets, cinematography, makeup, raccoons, and cats were all spot on. I found myself astonished throughout at what a happy, successful surprise this film was. I cannot wait to purchase the DVD with the hope of many extras (I hope). How about commentary, a house tour, etc. I've always been dubious of the term "instant classic", but I think this film will become as much of a cult classic as the originals....campy, touching, beautiful. Thanks to everyone involved.
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67 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STARPOWER IN A MASTERPIECE May 1, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It is a rare thing to see a performance where a star is so immersed in a character that the star completely disappears and you are faced with a real living breathing character. This is pure magic when it happens. It happened with Vivien Leigh in "A Streetcar Named Desire." It happened with Elizabeth Taylor in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" And it happens in HBO'S stunningly good "Grey Gardens", not once but twice.

The performances by Jessica Lang as Edith Bouvier Beal is a testament to her immense talent and a reminder of just how far she has come since she slipped from King Kong's fingers into our consciousness. This performance is one that should garner awards galore and be studied for years to come by aspiring actors. This is a masterwork by a great star.

Then there is Miss Barrymore. Born of a towering and legendary acting family she has shown us in the past just how astonishingly good she can be. But listen boys, batten down the hatches for the approaching storm that will wrench your heart from your body like a tin roof off a barn in a hurricane. As Edie Beal Drew Barrymore is a thrilling, revelatory, spectacle, a shear joy to behold and so utterly heartbreaking. This is the best work she has ever done and puts her beyond her ancestors as the greatest Barrymore in the dynasty.

And buried in the midst of these two towering performances one must not neglect the brilliant, lovely and gentle work by Jeanne Tripplehorn as Jackie Kennedy. Her work here is wonderful. Miss Tripplehorn is indeed with her work on HBO's "Big Love" and here in this film fulfilling her youthful promise as an actress and coming into her own in her middle years.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply amazing. April 19, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
i have to admit that when i first heard of this film being produced i was more than skeptical. i thought it was going to be insane to try to reproduce the original documentary film. but the "reproduced" scenes from the original "grey gardens" are mesmerizing and have been executed with astonishing pinpoint accuracy. there are also flashback scenes to fill in the holes in the story line of the life that these two women shared.

both drew barrymore and jessica lange are dead on in their portrayals of big and little edie.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding! April 24, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange are simply astounding in the roles of the famous Beale women who lived in Grey Gardens. Beyond a mere caricature, both women live in this roles and bring out the truth and humanity of this two women that is so true to life. This has to be one of Barrymore's most powerful roles yet. She proves any naysayers wrong and proves that she is indeed heir apparent to the legacy of her famous acting family. Jeane Tripplehorn surprises as Jackie O. with a warm and brilliant performance.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing April 21, 2009
By MizMode
Grey Gardens is simply amazing. What an excellent film and Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore give excellent performances. There were a lot of naysayers of Drew's that said that she couldn't pull it off. I'm glad she proved them all wrong. I've been a fan of Drew's for many, many, years and was so glad she went after this role, got it, and did an brilliant performance (which I knew she would).

I've already watched it about five times now. :)

Let the awards season begin. lol

Now I want to watch the documentaries and read the books. Fascinating!

Highly recommended!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing "grey" about this movie! May 7, 2009
I had seen the 2 documentaries, and was really skeptical and worried that the HBO movie would be a disappointment. I was so pleasantly surprised! The acting was impeccable. I had always thought that Drew Barrymore was more of a comic actress. I have a new respect for her after viewing this film. Of course, Jessica Lange is brilliant (as always) in every role she takes on. I highly recommend this movie. It will answer so many questions you have after watching the documentaries. You really get to know the women and their lives and what led up to them living in squalor. SEE THIS MOVIE!!!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Grey Gardens" is a classic April 21, 2009
I've seen "Grey Gardens" about 4 times,and I still want to see it again.I went to youtube to watch the Documentary,and was amazed how the film is true to life of Big and Little Edie,and the house.Drew Barrymore is superb.I've always been a fan of her movies,but "Grey Gardens"has taken her acting to another playing field. Jessica Lange is unreal,she is Big Edie.Lange sings,dances,and ages 40 years.If "Grey Gardens" was on the big Screen,everyone would get an Oscar.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Grey ghosts
very interesting true story. Watch the documentary and then watch the movie. Drew Barrymore is amazing.
Published 3 days ago by rikki willis
2.0 out of 5 stars Dulll Gardens
I thought since it was an HBO movie, this film would be good. But although the acting is top-notch all around, the story is dull as dishwater... Sorry. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Skyeleo
5.0 out of 5 stars Tho I do feel that Drew and Jessica did a real good job in portraying...
The movie was ok, I don't think that it really portrayed who these women really were and what really happened in their lives, there were so many things out of content... Read more
Published 5 days ago by jan whittington
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What great performances! Great story!
Published 7 days ago by Pat McClary
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 9 days ago by bobbette johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Grey Gardens is a movie worth seeing for sure!
I can't express enough admiration for both of these actresses.

Drew is known for many types of roles but I never saw her like this. Dramatic to the teeth. Read more
Published 10 days ago by R. A. Mccormick
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Story of Two Free Spirits
I was surprised by Grey Gardens. I thought I would be bored and not get into the story but I was wrong. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Fleg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie!
Published 15 days ago by Elizabeth August
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding acting!!!
Excellent performances! Spot on compared to the documentary. Very interesting to get a glimpse into their past and how the making of the documentary came to be. Highly recommend.
Published 18 days ago by Michelle
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Must-See!!!!
Love this intriguing story . . .tragic, entertaining, and amazing. Few people have heard of this unusual story of America's fallen elite.
Published 20 days ago by Anne
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