Lazy Days

Oh how I love Easter! Its off to the perfect start with a gloriously indulgent day of films on Good Friday. I watched 3 I’ve seen before – my all time favourite Titanic, taut thriller Red Eye and Mean Girls. Then something very different in the form of HBO’s tv film Grey Gardens, based on the documentary about Edie and Edie; Jackie O’s aunt and cousin. This was only on my radar because of Drew Barrymore and her win at the Golden Globe’s and with hindsight to have really appreciated this film I probably should have watched the actual documentary prior or at least informed myself slightly more about the storyline.
At first glance this is a slightly eccentric portrayal of too perhaps mentally ill women who only ever found a spot in the limelight because they were related to Jackie Onassis, a.k.a Mrs JFK, however after having done a bit of research and watched snippets of the documentary there is a lot more than can be said about the stylish and rather sad film.
This is a riveting and heartbreaking insight into how two charming and colourful women fell from high society into the reclusive squalor of Grey Gardens in East Hamtpon. Having seen the documentary you can then and only then really admire the acting on show here, Drew Barrymore 100% deserved her golden globe. She had everything about little Edie down to a fine art, her voice and mannerisms; the dancing, it really was astonishing, Jessica Lange as Big Edie is equally astonishing. The film conveys their elegance, their quirks and fragility beautifully, intercutting with fluidity the past and present, emphasising their tragic downfall. Especially Litte Edie, as she had such beauty and charisma, to see her so alone and trapped is particularly moving. The only thing I felt the film didn’t cover is why they were actually like this, are we meant to assume they did indeed have psychological issues? Big Edie was obviously heartbroken after her piano man left her, she was a dependent and stubborn women who put her daughter in the same position she was in. Their glamorous lives and seemingly idyllic parties, beach trips and dancing antics contrasts to great effect with the emptiness of their denouement. However you get the feeling this film isn’t meant to be a pity party, the ending alludes to the idea Little Edie finally did get her break with the cabaret act and moved around like she wanted to. They also seemed to enjoy their odd little existence; the ice-cream and cats e.t.c how they lived in such filthy conditions though I’ll never know.
Their are a few questions that remain unanswered, especially for those very familiar with their story, but for until recently ignorant viewers like myself it provides a delightful introduction. Drew Barrymore is also exquisite in this film, a lot of people don’t take her seriously as an actress, and with justification considering Charlie’s Angels and various rom-coms she starred in, however I have a feeling this is going to be her year, combined with newly released Whip It; her directorial debut. Anyway I’m digressing; the costumes from the 30’s are amazing with Drew looking every bit the head-turning, sophisticated and sassy Edie. I now really want a swimsuit like the ones she was wearing. Oh and that pencil skirt and blouse combo and the dress from the beginning…
Both actresses depict their characters deterioration into delusion with dignity and class, their interaction and behaviours were endearing, making for thoughtful and memorable film. Maintaining the film’s tagline; ‘true glamour never fades’, this is a film which deserved its recognition and should continue to do so.

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