Grey Gardens (1975)
- Summaries (3)
An old mother and her middle-aged daughter, the aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy, live their eccentric lives in a filthy, decaying mansion in East Hampton.
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.
Seventy-nine year old Edith Bouvier Beale and her fifty-six year old daughter, Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale, are Jacqueline Kennedy's aunt and cousin. Living alone with several cats, fleas and raccoons (the latter, wild, which live in the attic but who Edie feeds), the Beale's are discovered living in filth and squalor in Grey Gardens, their 28-room family mansion located in East Hampton, Long Island, the mansion which doesn't even have running water. Edie moved home twenty-four years earlier to care for her ailing mother. In what Edie considers a "raid" on their privacy, the Suffolk County Board of Health orders the Beale's to clean up the house or be evicted. With few exceptions, the Beale's are suspicious of the outside world. The Beale's comply with the order and renovate the house with financial help from their more famous relative. Mother and daughter are outwardly combative with each other, but their constant bickering masks a protective attitude each has for the other. Both cling to their past lives, with each still believing that that life can exist, Edith as a singer, and Edie as a social débutante (Edie is always sporting a fashionable scarf around her head). Old habits die hard as even two years after renovations on the home have begun, Edith lives primarily in her bedroom in her twin bed which is covered with garbage and cats, who use the corner of the room as a bathroom. And Edie constantly dreams of a time when she can return to living in New York City as a débutante and dancer, although one realizes that she is only using her mother as an excuse for what she really considers her comfortable current living situation.
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