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Grey Gardens (1975)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 5,816 users  
Reviews: 51 user | 67 critic

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

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Title: Grey Gardens (1975)

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Utilizing hours of unseen archival footage, The Beales is a new take on the women of Grey Gardens.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Herself
...
Herself
Brooks Hyers ...
Himself - Gardener
Norman Vincent Peale ...
Himself (voice)
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Storyline

The Maysles brothers pay visits to Edith Bouvier Beale, nearing 80, and her daughter Edie. Reclusive, the pair live with cats and raccoons in Grey Gardens, a crumbling mansion in East Hampton. Edith is dry and quick-witted - a singer, married but later separated, a member of high society. Edie is voluble, dresses - as she puts it - for combat in tight ensembles that include scarves wrapped around her head. There are hints that Edie came home 24 years before to be cared for rather than to care for her mother. The women address the camera, talking over each other, moving from the present to events years before. They're odd, with flinty affection for each other. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mansion | cat | singer | raccoon | new york | See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

27 September 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Két nő - egy ház  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Edith Bouvier Beale was the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy's father, John V. "Blackjack" Bouvier. As a child, Jaqueline spent a great deal of time with her aunt and cousin Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale at Grey Gardens and considered "Big Edie" her favorite aunt throughout her lifetime. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale: What're you doing down there? You staying there?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in 30 for 30: Muhammad and Larry (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Night and Day
(uncredited)
Written by Cole Porter
Performed by Edith Bouvier Beale
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Utterly remarkable
6 November 2003 | by (California) – See all my reviews

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.


29 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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