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 »
Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange are so good it is SCARY!
I have NEVER publicly commented on a feature performance until now. Having seen the 1975 documentary about Edith and Edie Beale, I was absolutely blown away by the exacting performances--especially Drew Barrymore. I noticed a few comments dissing the film and it's rather obvious these people don't know the storyline. Jessica and Drew WERE their characters to perfection--a not-so-trivial accomplishment. I knew Lange could act but Drew perhaps has certainly lived up to her family lineage!!! ! Take it for what it's worth: this is a non-fiction account of a most dysfunctional family, parental control, character disorders, being a victim, and reluctant realization of unfulfilled dreams. Little Edie, with all her psychiatric shades, is accurately portrayed by Drew Barrymore. Jessica Lange as the spoiled, controlling mother, sort of sums it all up by telling her daughter that she's not easily likable or attractive with "...Edie ... you are more of an acquired taste". Yet, the bizarre paradox of their relationship is simple. Edie is filled with too much fear to go out into the world and the two really need each other. Call it pathological complementarity. This film works at every level!
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