Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grey Gardens

I recently watched a most intriguing documentary on the lives of two eccentric women, who defied the status quo and sequestered themselves in a ramshackle mansion. Grey Gardens, the story of "Big" Edie and "Little" Edie Beale, and filmed in 1976, begins on an off-kilter, lightsome note, with "Little" Edie welcoming the Maysles brothers, and confiding in them that she is wearing "the best costume for the day." (which includes a brooch-adorned turban, turquoise high heels, and an upside-down skirt securely fastened to her girdle)
Cousin to Jackie Kennedy, she never married, and at 56, had been living with her aging mother for the past 20-odd years. Though it isn't specified when, they both turned their backs on wealth, fame, the socialite life, to reside on their East Hampton estate, gradually slipping deeper into a time warp where past and present somehow bend and merge.
As the film progresses, Little Edie's passion for life grows more apparent. She describes herself as a "staunch character," and tells of her longing to join Broadway. In the meantime, she spends her time reading horoscopes, ("that's what I need, a Libra man!") feeding raccoons, dancing on the porch, and answering her mother's impatient calls of "E-E-E-die!!!"
Although, at first, the documentation of these lives seems amusingly cock-eyed and near Suessian, it unfolds into a beautiful portrait of a different humanity than what we are most familiar with. It made me laugh, but it also made me pause and think for a moment. Life is not as prescribed as what it is often cast to be.

*note: The film is only rated PG; however, I would advise some prudence in watching it. There is some {what I would consider to be} mild language, and several of the Beale's outfits are more revealing than is proper.


Raja-Man said...

interesting, very interesting.......

His Handmaidens said...

PLeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaasssse don't come to church with your skirt on upside down!


Hannah said...

No worries, I haven't gone completely mad- yet.