Montauk, East Hampton, New York, 2016. Peter Beard discusses his work as a photographer, artist and diarist before reminiscing about his attempt to make a documentary in the summer of 1972 ... See full summary »
A documentary that records the darkly humorous sequence of events leading up to a seance to manifest Big Edith Bouvier Beale and Little Edie Bouvier Beale so they can attend a celebration ... See full summary »
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
At one point, Phelan Beale calls Gould Strong a "God-damned Ganymede." In Greek mythology, Ganymede was a Trojan prince whom Zeus kidnapped to be his lover. In other words, Phelan called Gould gay. See more »
I just wish little Edie could have seen this film...
Not sure why it took me so long to view this film (I rarely watch made-for-cable-television films, so that explains that.) I've seen the documentary a number of times and always came away from it wishing I would have had the opportunity to meet the Edies and, particularly, little Edie. I can't explain it, but there's just something so marvelously endearing about her. She should have been a "somebody" other than just being Jackie O.'s cousin.
Watching the 1975 Maysles record of the closing days of Grey Gardens always sets me to thinking, perhaps too much, about what I saw play out between my own deceased mother and grandmother. It always takes me a couple of days to shake that film loose.
I watched the documentary, again, three days ago. Tonight I watched the film--is there a genre known as augmented documentary? The augmented documentary floored me. In particular, Barrymore's performance is stunning. She IS little Edie! I know the documentary very well, all the "classic" lines; and, Barrymore's delivery of them was like...well, watching little Edie in the documentary. Yet, seeing more of the Beales' past played out in rich detail connected so many dots for me (e.g. the very special gift given to Edith by Krug that figures prominently at the film's end.)
At the film's end, I was sorely missing my mother. She was the little Edie in my life; and, she would have loved this film. My grandmother, or big Edie, would have loved it, too. Thankfully, furniture covered with plastic and strict rules about animals in the house (never cats, and only the occasional small dog not allowed in bedrooms) kept the living arrangement tidy; but, the big Edie and little Edie dynamic was all there. So much laughter, so many tears, so much love and so much dislike. This film captured it all for me. Perhaps, to really appreciate it, one needs to have lived it to a certain degree. If one hasn't, I can see where the film might come across less than excellent.
9/10 stars from me and only because the film didn't incorporate "The Marble Faun" eating corn with big Edie; and, I missed little Edit remarking on her "revolutionary" dress for the day.
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