Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, Grey Gardens tells the tender, intimate story of an eccentric mother and daughter (both named Edith Bouvier Beale aka "Big and Little Edie"). They were raised as Park Avenue débutantes but withdrew from New York society, taking shelter at their Long Island summer home, "Grey Gardens ." As their wealth and contact with the outside world dwindled, so did their grasp on reality. They were reintroduced to the world when international tabloids learned of a health department raid on their home, and Jackie swooped in to save her relatives. It's hard to imagine a feature film that could improve upon the cult classic 1975 Hamptons-gothic documentary Grey Gardens, co-directed by Albert and David Maysles. Yet this filmic version, directed by Michael Sucsy for HBO Films, captures not only the pathos and peculiarity of both Edies, but also provides something deeper and richer: the background story of the glamorous Beale ladies, and a glimpse at how they slid from gay 1930s high society to sharing rotting living quarters with litters of cats and raccoons. Drew Barrymore, the Grey Gardens standout, rises to the particular challenge of playing "Little Edie" Beale, whose accent, carriage, and mannerisms have developed their own camp following over the years. Barrymore's performance is a revelation: she captures the weirdness of Edie, but she knows what the documentary fans know - the reality of what Edie once had been, and what she was becoming. Barrymore's performance is delicate and strong, with a hint of sadness underneath the fading ingénue's brave face. Jessica Lange plays "Big Edie," the mother who made more concrete choices to wall herself off from the outside world. Lange is excellent, though Big Edie is a less nuanced character than her daughter, and she seems more content with her lot, perched in her teeming twin bed surrounded by mounds of cats and trash. With fascinating special features, this is must-see for any fan of the original documentary, or its follow-up The Beales of Grey Gardens. Also check out the Grey Gardens : The Book (which includes a 60 minute cd).
Duration: 104 minutes
DVD Release Date: 2010
Presentation: Colour, PAL, 16:9 Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1/2.0
Language: English, Closed Captions for the Hearing Impaired
DVD Extras: Audio Commentary with executive producers; Grey Gardens : Then & Now - compares and contrasts the feature-length film and the original documentary. Includes interviews with Albert Mays;es, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange, filmmaker Michael Sucsy and others