Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Matinee - "Grey Gardens"

This film is a feast for the eyes. It also makes one think about life and it's twists, and how things work out differently for everyone.

When I first saw the film Grey Gardens in 2009, I instantly became enamored with Little Edie Beale . I loved her drive and her ambition, her fashion sense and creativity and sympathized with her losses and defeat. She was a dreamer, so am I. She was completely eccentric and didn't care who knew it. I admire that about her.
I also found myself growing more and more angry at her mother, Big Edie Bouvier Beale. I resented her for holding Little Edie back, for keeping her a prisoner of guilt and duty in Grey Gardens. I know now that it wasn't done out of complete spite, but rather out of complete fear. Fear of being alone, of dying alone and losing what little you might have left. I think that those are deep fears that we all have inside of us somewhere.
The whole movie I just found myself rooting for Little Edie, cheering her on and hoping that she will finally have her chance. I have always loved a film that can put me on the characters side right from the beginning, that can make you feel for them, become attached to them. This film does all of that and more.
The story of Grey Gardens has also been immortalized in a Broadway musical and most importantly in a documentary made in the 70's by Albert and David Maysles.

The plot:
Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Onassis (both named Edith Bouvier Beale aka "Big and Little Edie") raised as Park Avenue debutantes but who 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.
The film stars Drew Barrymore, looking epicly gorgeous in the flashback scenes, as Little Edie and the ever talented and glamorous Jessica Lange as Big Edie.

The costumes in this film are just gorgeous. I would love to own all of Little Edie's clothes and accessories. Since the time line of the film spans from the 40's through the 70's, there is plenty of great fashion to be seen. Even Little Edie's madcap improvised ensembles from her later lifel in squalor at Grey Gardens are wonderful. They are colorful, inventive and theatrical...just like their creator.

Some photos from the film:


  1. I love this version, almost more than the original. I have a Little Edie quote tattooed on my chest. The original makes me sad to watch because Big Edie was just so mean to Little Edie.

  2. I feel that way too. I would hate to give up my youth and social life to care for a person who uses me as their punching bag.....

  3. I haven't seen the new version yet but I saw the original a few years back. It was a very sad movie and I too kept hoping that Little Edie would "break out" from under her mother's depressing hold. The whole thing made me wonder how much of the mental disorder was inherited and how much was environment. I suspect it was mostly environment which makes it so much sadder. I did love seeing all of her outfits, I just wish I could have seen more of the house that wasn't in shadows. Seeing this post makes me want to see the new version of the film.

  4. Oh please do, it's totally fabulous!

  5. This was a great film! I loved it. I agree that it was her mother who held her back, and kept her a prisoner with guilt.

  6. Oh this movie sounds amazing, I can't wait to watch it, it's always interesting to view the mother/daughter dynamics between two women, especially when the relationship is already tense. Thank you for the recommendation.