Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens. Great but uncomfortable film by the Maysle brothers back in the 70's about a mother and daughter, who were socialites, their impressive East Hampton home and that they now live in squalor as the house deteriorates around them. It's overrun with cats relieving themselves everywhere including the mother's room while the documentary is being filmed. There is a scene where the daughter goes to the attic, film crew following her, to leave an opened loaf of white bread with a box of cat food on top, on the floor for the raccoons who are in view and waiting for her to leave.

Watching this film a year ago on Sundance Channel was like driving by a car accident and being unable to look away. So many questions swirl in my mind with each conversation, view of another room, interaction with the film crew, sighting of a defecating cat behind a framed picture leaning against the wall. I searched the internet for answers about these women, who they had been previous to the decline, how they endured the squalor and what the hell happened.

From Drew Barrymore will be playing Little Edie to Jessica Lange's Big Edie in HBO's feature film adaptation of the documentary (and then Broadway play) 'Grey Gardens.' The two Edies are the mother and daughter from the Bouvier clan who lived in a dilapidated mansion in Long Island's East Hampton. In 1971 the police raided the house finding the women living with no heat or water amongst cats, raccoons, and garbage. Jacqueline (Bouvier) Kennedy Onassis paid to have the place cleaned up for her aunt and cousin.

I may get some more answers when this film is released on HBO in April. I saw a few clips of Drew and Jessica discussing the filming. It will span over 4 decades and has them in prosthetic makeup appearing strikingly like the Edies did. The attention to period costumes and the antiques I saw in the clips make me really look forward to seeing this new film.

qazrazl qazrazl
41-45, F
2 Responses Mar 7, 2009

its just so sad how they were left to make it on their own, even after Jackie had the home cleaned and repaired.

one again the family disappeared never to return. as i understand big eddies husband left inheritance to the men in the family, back then women were left at the hands of the men, with what ever they dealt!!! sad!

So, addendum: The film was released on HBO last weekend and I must have watched it 6 times already. Drew Barrymore pegged Little Edie's accent, cadence of speech and mannerisms perfectly. It was hauntingly sad and simultaneously fascinating. Jessica Lange was equally as perfect in her creepy portrayal of Big Edie.<br />
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I hope you get the chance to appreciate this film, their story and the acting performances. It still leaves me with all kinds of questions about these women and how they resigned themselves to live that way for so many years.