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Grey Gardens ()

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Albert and David Maysles, pioneers in the cinéma vérité movement of documentary filmmaking, chose for their subjects of this film a mother and daughter with celebrity connections. Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter, Edie (or, as they are called by the brothers, Big Edie and Little Edie), are aunt and cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. In the early '70s, their 28-room mansion in Long Island's tony community of East Hampton was found to be a health hazard, and the two women, in their seventies and fifties, were threatened with eviction. Jacqueline Onassis paid for the house to be put in good order, and two years later, the Maysles paid the ladies a series of follow-up visits. This is not fly-on-the-wall filmmaking; the brothers are sometimes shown on-camera, and both women talk directly to them. Big Edie reminisces about her husband (from whom she has long been separated) and her youthful singing career; Little Edie ruminates over memories of her thwarted romances and confides that she has to get out of Grey Gardens (the name of their estate), although she has been living there since 1952; and the two women pick at each other for transgressions past and present. The women share their home with at least five cats and several raccoons, for whom Little Edie leaves out food in the attic. They are not recluses; they host a modest 79th birthday party for Big Edie, they employ a gardener, and they are often visited by Jerry, a young handyman/lost soul whom Little Edie calls "the Marble Faun," after the Nathaniel Hawthorne story. "It's very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present," Little Edie says near the beginning of the film, and it becomes clear that both women are much more comfortable reliving their respective youths (in some ways, Little Edie has never left hers) than facing their rather bleak old and middle age. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi Hide synopsis

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    Description: Lois Wright, Jerry Torre, David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Jack...

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    Description: Edie Beale, Edith Bouvier Beale. Very good. 1976 Run time: 185. ...

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    Description: Lois Wright, Jerry Torre, David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Jack...

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Reviews of Grey Gardens

Overall customer rating: 5.000
LaurieAnnBaz

A Wonderful Train Wreck

by LaurieAnnBaz on Aug 20, 2009

I originally saw this movie on TV and proceeded to buy it. Big and little Edie Beale are intriguing. It's like watching a train wreck. You want to look away but you just can't. You almost can't believe that two such women, known to be rich and high society, can come to such poverty. Yet through all the deprivation you still can see and feel the aristocrat bred inside both women. This movie shows moments of happiness and deep sadness as you watch the women reflect on thier younger days, sometimes seemingly stepping back in time as they recall. Dispite the arguing and obvious eccentricities these two women are quite loveable. Mostly Little Edie who still has her school girl charms. After watching this film I am obessed with these wonderful women. They are inspiring women because of their plight. I suggest anyone interested in human nature and how expansive it's range can be, to watch this film. It might give you more compassion for people you don't quite understand in this world.

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