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
Taking the magnificent 1975 documentary and turning it into a dram is a big risk - and I really feel that it payed off.
What was really great was the back-story that you didn't get in the documentary. Ken Howard (Michael Clayton, "Crossing Jordan") played Big Edie's husband, Malcolm Gets ("Caroline in the City") played George "Gould" Strong, and Daniel Baldwin was Julius Krug, all important characters in the 1936 portion of the film.
Drew Barrymore was absolutely magnificent as "Little" Edie, and Jessica Lange was amazing as "Big" Edie. The passive-aggressive attitude displayed made for some super entertainment. The co-dependency made for some outstanding drama. They were an endearing couple.
Things were really in a disgusting state with cats and raccoons all over the place when Jackie Kennedy Onassis (Jeanne Tripplehorn) shows up after numerous stories made the papers outlining the fact that the women were broke.
They were so far gone that they couldn't see how badly they looked in the documentary made about them. Eddie still thought she was destined to be a star.
If Drew Barrymore doesn't get a Golden Globe for this, something is very wrong.
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