Grey Gardens (1975)   2 comments

grey_gardens

Dig those wacky Beales! Funny, twisted, and often heartbreaking, Grey Gardens allows us to intrude into the lives of former Bouvier family socialites, Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter, Little Edie Bouvier Beale. Living in tony East Hampton, New York in the family’s once grand seaside mansion, the two recluses live in filthy squalor with a gang of cats, raccoons, possums, and goodness knows what else.

Little Edie 1972

Documentarians Albert and David Maysles (Salesman, Gimme Shelter) gained the trust of the two women which allowed them unprecedented access.

maysles

They tell stories, laugh, sing, dance, and berate each other on camera. Depending on your mood, the film can be a depressingly hard watch or an uplifting look at the unkillable spirit of Little Edie.

edie

Bound by familial duty, the time she lived in, and her own fears, Edie never made it out of her mother’s sight. She never married or had a career and later Edie rarely left the confines of her shabby house.

Big edie

As a slice of life documentary, Grey Gardens works because we really see how the Beales live. As a peek into the insular Bouvier/Kennedy clan, it’s a weird, guilty pleasure. It makes me wonder if I should be watching. Do you remember those old Sally Struthers ads begging you to save the starving children in Africa? How many takes do you think they did before they gave the kids a sandwich and shooed flies off them? Grey Gardens makes you want to shoo away the flies…and buy the stars a couple dozen litter boxes. Good stuff.

piano

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2 responses to “Grey Gardens (1975)

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  1. Kerry, your review was (too) short, but a sheer delight. For some reason, I have become obsessed with Grey Gardens lately, and watch it every chance I get. I loved reading your review — I’d love to know more about what you thought about specific scenes, and both Big and Little Edie. If you do an addendum, I’ll be first in line! 😉 One more thing — I simply love that first picture, the one with the cat posing in the foreground, don’t you?

    • It is a short one. I just wanted to get my thought down before I lost them. 🙂 It’s also meant to get people interested who haven’t seen it so I don’t want to say too much. Yes! I love the cat photo! If I write more, I will let you know. Thank you for reading!

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