In 1973, documentary filmmaking brothers Albert Maysles and David Maysles decide to change the focus of their latest project from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to her aunt and older cousin, mother and daughter Edith Bouvier Beale - called Big Edie - and Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, who were found living in squalor and isolation in the longtime family mansion, Grey Gardens, in East Hampton, New York. Through flashbacks starting in 1936, the path mother and daughter take from their socialite past to the time that the Mayles brothers show their completed film is shown. Big Edie's husband/Little Edie's father, Phelan Beale, controlled the family money, which included providing singing lessons to Big Edie with musician Gould Strong, with who she had more than a musical interest. Big Edie saw herself as a singer, first and foremost. Mother and father also controlled Little Edie's life, they who wanted her to stay at Grey Gardens rather than pursue her dream of becoming a professional ... Written by
In New York, Little Edie lives in the Barbizon Hotel, an apartment building on East 63rd Street for young single women. In one scene, Little Edie sneaks Cap into her room because of the Barbizon's strict ban on male visitors. Parents often choose the Barbizon for their daughters in the city for that reason. Other famous women who lived at the Barbizon while starting out in New York City include Joan Crawford, Grace Kelly, Candice Bergen, and author Sylvia Plath, whose protagonist in 'The Bell Jar' lived in a place much like the Barbizon. See more »
This film was absolutely wonderful. If you didn't like it, chances are you're not familiar with the 1973 documentary about these two, very real, tragic leftovers of American aristocracy.
Drew Barrymore's and Jessica Lange's portrayal of Little Edie and Big Edie were spot on. It was a bit spooky how close they resembled the actual women.
It's an engaging look at how a fall from grace can happen so slowly and subtly that it is hardly noticed by the very people who have fallen living in such squalid conditions of which they never could have imagined in their younger, more affluent days.
A beautiful, heartbreaking story.
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