Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif


Studio: HBO Video
Year: 2009
Cast: Jessica Lange, Drew Barrymore, Malcolm Gets, Daniel Baldwin, Ken Howard, Jeanne Trippelhorn
Director: Michael Sucsy
Release Date: July 14, 2009
Rating: Not Rated for
Run Time: 01h:43m:47s
Genre(s): drama, hbo

"It's very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present. Awfully difficult." - Little Edie (Drew Barrymore)


Buy Now @ Amazon


You and the night and the musicóthe Beales and the Maysles get the narrative treatment.

Movie Grade: B

DVD Grade: B

Um, why? This is a respectfully produced, handsomely mounted and well-acted movie made by talented people, but the animating impulse of it still seems like something of a mystery, or not really well thought out. The documentary of the same name has garnered cult status since its initial releaseóthe Edies as patron saints of familial dysfunction, as icons of gay camp, as the seamy underbelly of Camelot. They've even inspired a Broadway musical, and here get their story dramatized by HBO. It's hard to imagine someone making sense of this film without having seen the documentary first; it's even harder to conjure up those who would have an interest if they hadn't already had more than a passing familiarity with the true story. The result, then, is a weirdly interesting palimpsest, but that's about all.

If you're not already up on all things Beale, here's your primer: Big Edie and Little Edie Beale, mother and daughter, were cousins of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and became tabloid fodder in the late 1960s, when these relatives of the former First Lady were living in squalor in their once-grand mansion on Long Island. (The name of the house is the name of this film.) Cousin Jackie, married to Aristotle Onassis at the time, swooped in with some financial relief, and the story got out of the gossip columns; all the money in the world couldn't mend the psychological shards that were strewn around that house, though. Enter the Mayslesóbrothers Albert and David, accomplished documentarians, convinced the Edies to allow a film to be made about them. The result is one of the most harrowing things you'll ever see, like a Eugene O'Neill play come to life. The Beales live in a home crawling with cats and raccoons, all blithely urinating everywhere; the women are forced into a small portion of the once-grand manor, eating what little food they can afford out of tin cans, and spinning the same lies and pipe dreams about their past. (If you haven't seen it, you've really got no excuse; Criterion's DVD release is fantastic.)

The generosity of this project, I guess, is that it restores the Beale women to all their gloryówith mother as the great lady, her daughter and namesake as the fetching debutante. And it's kind of a stunning physical production, reproducing the Beales, both in their heyday and at their nadir, with meticulous accuracy and specificity. The film cuts between the eras, and of course the big question is just how and why they fell, and fell, and fell. There's no dime-store psychological answer to the hobbling of either Edie, thankfully; we get a few representative episodes, and are asked to connect the dots ourselves. Ken Howard is perfectly weary as the man of the house, who runs out on the lunacy; Daniel Baldwin is stolid as Edie's onetime beau, a married man in Harry Truman's cabinet; Jeanne Tripplehorn is breathy and guarded in a brief appearance as Mrs. Onassis.

Particularly high praise goes to Drew Barrymore, who demonstrates range and acting chops that she hasn't had the opportunity to display before. She clearly was an attentive student with her vocal coach, and has Little Edie's often peculiar diction down patóshe may not be quite the free spirit and the bohemian that she wishes in her younger years, but she wants so badly to be that the image of her decline is deeply moving. Similarly, Jessica Lange's gifts frequently go underappreciated, perhaps the fate of anyone who looks as good as she does. You've got to admire her ambition, tooóin recent years she's played Mary Tyrone and Amanda Wingfieldóand her Big Edie is sort of a variation on a distinctly American theme, the damaged mother merrily if unintentionally inflicting psychological damage on her children. If you've seen the Maysles' film, you'll occasionally gasp at just how right they got it all.

The commentary track, with director/co-writer/exec producer Michael Sucsy and his executive producer colleagues, Lucy Barzun Donnelly and Rachael Horovitz, goes over all of the research and reconstruction that went into this, and demonstrates what a labor of love it was for so many. And Grey Gardens: Then and Now (11m:20s) is a brief promo piece with Lange, Barrymore and Albert Maysles, and a few brief glimpses of the documentary.

Posted by: Jon Danziger - July 27, 2009, 11:29 am - DVD Review
Keywords: drama, lange, barrymore, maysles

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store