Grey Gardens (1975)

PG   |    |  Documentary, Comedy, Drama


Grey Gardens (1975) Poster

An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.

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7.7/10
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  • Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens (1975)
  • Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens (1975)
  • Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens (1975)
  • Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens (1975)
  • Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens (1975)
  • Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale in Grey Gardens (1975)

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6 November 2003 | Kieran_Kenney
10
| Utterly remarkable
I found Grey Garden's to be a gripping film, an amazingly intimate

look at too eccentrics who basically have the right idea: forget

society and live in a delapidated house with no heating and a huge

brood of cats and raccoons, persuing their own interests rather

mundainly, all the while chattering at the camera.

Big Edie and Little Edie are the two crazies that the Mazles Bros.

have chosen to document. They seem like characters out of a

Fellini film, only stranger, if that makes any sense. Old Edie is

almost fully bedridden, a pile of papers, clothes and dirty dishes

growing around her. Little Edie is even more interesting. She

prances around the house, always wearing a baboushka-like

headdress around her head, completely covering her hair. We

never see her hair throughout the film, nor do we ever get a hint

that she still has much. At age fifty eight, though, she is still

beautiful and full of life.

In Grey Gardens, we get the sense that both of these women's

lives have become much less than what they once were. Little

Edie is probably the sadder of the two. While her mother, in her

earlier years, got married, made a family, lived luxuriously and

even made some recordings (the scene where, at 77, she sings

along with a recording of "Tea for Two" she made decades ago is

one of the films best scenes), Edie left her promicing career as a

model to take care of her ailing mother. At 58, she still longed to

find her prince charming. If anything Little Edie is still a little girl,

full of dreams of glamour and fame, and of domestic and romantic

bliss, that have yet to be fulfilled.

Highlights of the film include the opening moments, where Little

Edie explains her outfit to the camera, the "tea for two" sequence,

the birthday party, the climactic argument, the grocery deliver

scene, and the scene in the attic. The whole thing is incredibly

candid and unpretencious. And it's made all the more remarcable

since it's all real.

I suggest seeing Grey Gardens back-to-back with the Kenneth

Anger short Puce Moment. The Criterion DVD is $35.00, but it's

worth every penny.

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