24 April 2009 | cliffcarson-1
Deeply Moving, The film QUIVERS with FEELING
I remember vividly walking through the living room one day in the late 90's when my roommate was chuckling at the documentary GREY GARDENS on the Sundance channel. My eye immediately caught the images of Big and Little Edie in the yellow room and I became involved watching it too. Something about this little documentary just drew me into it. Yes, it was funny, but the humor was also mixed with feelings of horror and pity. I remember feeling a bit uneasy watching these women. One confined to an uncomfortable bed and the other confined to her shattered dreams of unrealized stardom. Both seemingly stuck in a dilapidated house in bad need of repair. What I find beautiful about the documentary is how it questions ones own perception on what "wealth" is. The documentary has that "never judge a book by it's cover" / "things are never quite what they seem" aspect to it. The greatness of the documentary is the message that "real" wealth in life comes in different forms, not just perceived material possessions. The outside doesn't necessarily reflect what's going on beneath the surface. After several viewings of the documentary, it's impossible to have pity for big and little Edie. They had wealth where it counted, in humor, intelligence, feeling, character and for each other.
GREY GARDENS with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange is a beautiful and deeply moving tribute to a couple of women whose lives might have been forgotten if it weren't for a couple of documentary filmmakers. Handsomely directed and paced by Michael Sucsy, the film resonates so many feelings that only the hardened will not be moved.
At times it is difficult not to compare and judge the performances of Lange and Barrymore with the real Big and Little Edie Beale, especially for those of us overly familiar with the documentary. Oddly enough some of the best scenes in the film are in the early years. If in moments Lange and Barrymore fail to completely live up to an exact interpretation of the Beales, they immediately redeem themselves with the conviction, understanding and love they have for the women and the material. The performances by Lange, Barrymore and Jeanne Tripplehorn will move and surprise you. The film honors, respects and celebrates it's subjects and like the documentary, it touches something deep down.
It reminds all of us that wealth comes in different forms and that true wealth is the loyalty two people can have for each other.