Saturday, April 13, 2013

grey gardens: a review

The other night I watched a movie called Grey Gardens starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lang. It was a true story about a mother and daughter, both named Edie Bouvier Beale, who were once wealthy and aristocratic. They  also were related to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. They had been the toast of the society circle. But something happened and they became these two reclusive, but still charming, creatures who lived in a run-down old mansion in the Hamptons.
     The movie goes back and forth in time, spanning the 1930's to the 1970's to show their lives at various stages and how they ended up as they did. The mansion is filthy and disgusting. They have a gazillion cats, a raccoon, garbage and dung everywhere. Theres also leaks in the roof and broken window pains all over the place. It's hot a mess!
     The papers got wild of this and these two film makers approached them about doing a documentary about them. The film, entitled Grey Gardens and released in the early 1970's, shows them living their daily lives under these circumstances but with ''style'' and charisma. The film is a huge success and that's how the wider world learns of Jackie O's eccentric relatives.
    First of all, I have to say that Drew Barrymore's Boston accent was perfection and she looked like ''Little Edie'' in her signature head pieces made of shirts and blouses. They did these re-enactments of scenes from the 1970's documentary and I thought Lang and Barrymore were Big Edie and Little Edie! It was all down to the letter. I also loved the back in time scenes. The set designers and stylist were on point, not that I was living then myself, with everything from the clothes, cars, furniture and hairstyles. Trust me, we gay guys know about these thing!
    The Bouvier Beale women had both wanted to be entertainers of some sort at one point their lives but it wasn't in the cards for then, or was it? The newspaper articles got Jackie O's attention and got them some help fixing and cleaning up that hell hole they lived in and the documentary gave them notoriety and adulation. You see that people always get what they want in the end, even though it may not be exactly how or when they planned. ''Little Edie'' was quoted saying ''my mother gave me a completely priceless life'' toward the end of her own life. I highly recommend this movie and the original documentary. If your into studying peoples lives like I am, there are also books available about them.

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