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
Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale claimed that the house was haunted by the ghost of a sea captain, who used to climb a ladder into her room for midnight trysts. She also claimed the house was haunted by the ghosts of a woman and her daughter, who were the original residents of the house. However, the first resident of the house was Mrs. F. Stanhope Phillips, the daughter of the first editor of the "Detroit Free Press", and she had no children. See more »
The first time I viewed Grey Gardens, I was as mesmerized as the other people who have written comments. So many elements of this film are fascinating, there are so many things going on there. The ultimate passive-aggresive relationship of the mother and daughter. So co-dependent. One moment Edie is blaming Edith for her loneliness, the next she is about to swim in the ocean and saying out loud how she hopes her mother does not pass on anytime soon, she would miss her. Yet one has to wonder if Edie really wanted to leave so badly, why didn't she? Maybe Grey Gardens was where she most wanted to be after all.
Edie never leaves the home or rarely sees anyone, yet she still has the rich, white woman's concern over her weight. It is hilarious to see her peering at the scale through binoculars. When you see pictures of the women as young beauties, it takes your breath away. Edie is still a beautiful woman, and her coquettish behavior at times makes her seem like a young lady.
The language is entirely witty and it is hilarious to see the two women go on and on. Favorite comments -
"France fell but Edie didn't. Edie never fell for anyone." "Why didn't you marry Getty?" "I'm a staunch character! S-T-A-U-N-C-H!" "Lost in a sea of green leaves. I'll never see that scarf again." "This is the revolutionary outfit." "You don't say luh-ove! You're not Czechoslovakian!" "All I need is to find this Libra man!"
The cats and racoons are a site to see, as is the faded mansion. A wonderful window into the world of two compelling characters, their lives, and their memories. Yes it is at times sad, but at the same time, these two are fabulous!
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