“Grey Gardens” Review ✦✦✦✦✧

30 January, 2018

Year of Release: 1975
Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Meyer
Directors of Photography: 
Albert Maysles, David Maysles
 Edith Bouvier Beale, Edith ‘Little Edie’ Bouvier Beale

Synopsis: The unbelievable true story of an eccentric mother and daughter who spend their days bickering within the confines of their dilapidated mansion, rarely leaving the house as they obsess over the past with an air of bitterness.

Grey Gardens Review:

Candid chaos trapped inside a lonely and unhinged subtext, “Grey Gardens” peels back the layers of pocket madness, unlocking eccentricity in its purest form while perusing a bitter and bubbling living space. Driven indoors by the pressures of wealth and infamy, Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie, filmed here at the not-so-little age of 58, find themselves locked in a time warp, laying their lives bare in peculiar yet honest conversation while showing little-to-no awareness of the various oddities that come with isolated living in upper class society.

A magnificent discovery masked behind the extensive greenery of a Long Island estate, “Grey Gardens” sees a stroke of luck from the Maysles brothers who stumble across an idiosyncratic duo while collating research for a separate documentary. Planting themselves amongst the action while Little Edie flirts and flaunts in front of their camera, Albert and David Maysles become a part of the story as the women’s incessant squabbling conveys a fight for the limelight despite their shattered dreams; the most tragic of which we discover through the younger of the pair as she recalls her lost days performing and modelling in New York.

A film beyond absurd with scenes no writer could fathom or screenplay can match, “Grey Gardens” is an achievement not only in documentary film-making but in all of cinema, a once in a lifetime triumph with authentic characters in the place of actors. Hilarious but pained by tragedy, the movie sees a cruel and dismissive mother push her daughter to complete insanity as Little Edie’s fits of rage showcase a warranted level of frustration with the woman who gave her life. Depressive entertainment at its finest, “Grey Gardens” speaks to both the misunderstood and the unloved; a film sympathetic in tone yet unable to provide any answers for those willing to trade a life of freedom and success for cramped companionship.


Review Date
Grey Gardens