Grey Gardens (2009)
Reviewed on 2009 April 25
Very well-done and sad HBO telling of Jackie O’s eccentric aunt and cousin, and their determination to live in their cherished summer home “Grey Gardens” even as it was all but falling down around them. There’s of course more to the story than that, and we get a lot of it in the arc from wealth to unbelievable living conditions.
Edith Bouvier Beale (Jessica Lange) seemingly has but one worry towards the beginning of the story: her daughter Edith’s (Drew Barrymore) society debut. From the beginning we see that the Bouvier Beale women are not traditional and didn’t abide by the mores of the East Coast pony-and-summer-home set, but “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” are beyond eccentric. In a setting where decorum was set in stone the parties Big Edie threw during Grey Garden’s heyday looked like something from Auntie Mame. Couple that with the time and expectations in that circle that women were supposed to rely on men for income, and things were destined for a fast financial downward spiral. The other facet is the relationship between the mother and daughter, and the impact it had on Little Edie.
Made for TV movies are usually underwhelming, but I’m beginning to think HBO original movies do for film what your grandma does for restaurant food: almost always well-done, and sometimes even glamorous. I saw a bit of the original documentary and was struck by how much Drew Barrymore looked and sounded like Little Edie, almost channeling her in an early scene when she discusses her choice of the costume for the day.
Three chocolate morsels, and anything you chickens want, as long as it’s served in an heirloom cocktail glass.