• Unrated, 1 hr. 45 min.
  • Drama, Television
  • Directed By:
    Michael Sucsy
    In Theaters:
    Apr 18, 2009 Wide
    On DVD:
    Jul 14, 2009
  • Oscilloscope Pictures


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Grey Gardens Reviews

Page 1 of 28

Super Reviewer

October 12, 2011
Two women live in a secluded Hamptons estate called Grey Gardens, which becomes the center for posh parties, decay, and ultimately, an odd mixture of co-dependency and love.
The performances by the two leads, Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, are extraordinary. Each adopts some weird Boston/New York/is-that-Southern-intellectual hybrid accent that is so unique that it has to be an exact imitation of the real people, and each embodies her respective character's pain and triumph, communicating lifetimes of disappointment and will in a single pained smile. I've never taken Barrymore seriously as an actress before this film; shame on me.
The film highlights these performances, but its pacing is off, slowing down in the middle and wandering away from the narrative threads the strong first act built. How exactly does the house and their lives fall into such disrepair, and how can they remain so blissfully ignorant? I'm not sure the film has an answer to these questions, but to leave the space between these points A and B is to deny the audience and the characters the narrative continuity they deserve.
Overall, though the film has some structural problems, the leads' performances are strong enough to make up for any flaws.

Super Reviewer

February 4, 2008
Heartbreaking true story of Big Edie (mother) and Little Edie (daughter), the relations of Jackie Kennedy Onassis (I was surprised!), from the 1975 documentary. Oddly enough some of the best scenes in the film are in the early years.
Drew Barrymore was absolutely magnificent as "Little" Edie, and Jessica Lange was amazing as "Big" Edie. The passive-aggressive attitude displayed made for some super entertainment. The co-dependency made for some outstanding drama. They were an endearing couple.
The direction and filming was great as well and sets the perfect mood and atmosphere for the time periods and brings so much layers to the film and is period piece done right. Overall the film is bittersweet to me, the ending was somewhat satisfying and in the end they were both at peace with their lives but it's just a very gloomy and sad movie that makes you think what could of been with their lives but it's an amazing story.

Super Reviewer

January 30, 2011
it's amazing that drew barrymore sometimes does make some effects portraying challenging roles, real characters who are much less attractive then herself, for example "riding in the car with boys"...young edith beale isn't exactly a glamourous character, and i didn't know her existence before drew barrymore and jessica lange got invovled into this movie production..i must say jeanne tripplehorn really does look like jackie!!!

i saw some clips from youtube about edith beale, and the original trailer of grey gardens in 70s after this movie..i must say beale is really kinda eccentric with that turban on all the time, and the movie sorta explains this as a result from a heart-broken affair with a married man. no matter how they try to lighten the story of the beale mother-and-daughter, i do feel tragic about their story: a parent and a child are bound to each other in an eternal maidenhood (harshly speaking, spinister-hood?) in a decaying claustrophobic environment just becasue the old woman considers this place a representation of herself and her spirit? and the whole remaining royality thing. to me, it's even more saddening when you strive to beautify a life of grim-ness.

i gotta summon up my feelings toward this with an experience i had in real life..tcm has lots of those 5~10 mins commercial episodes which introduce you to some vintage bars where those old-time big names had been, and those rare stores which still have some rare old-movies in complete collections..the nostalgic aficinado thing, you know. there was once when i saw a brief interview on tcm that tells you about a video-shop near around hollywood that still provides really rare vintage movie-rental...then later, i did urge someone to take me there for a visit.

in the moment i stepped into the store, it just didn't look as good as it looked on tv. then i found people who hang around there are kinda over 60..it was all right with me (so what?) until my companion started to make fun of me and laugh at me in a jarring and irritating tone of voice. she said "only old people would be there, you have had a taste of grandmother..gee, gal, you are OLD.."..she just went on and on, then i felt so embarrassed that i had to leave soon. (besides, i cannot rent anything for not being a registered hollywood resident)...anyway, my point is: those things i considered cultured, refined and historical, are just laughable old-lady's yellowed underwears to others who prefer to think they're following the wave, being young as they should be...that's exactly how i feel about grey garden and any of those old-day glamour...tearful smile to a destroyed withered life without prospect....self-conflicting? i suppose.
Nicki M

Super Reviewer

January 1, 2009
Fascinating. Especially when you realise it is a true story. I really enjoyed watching this eccentric mother and daughter duo. Watching the short making of, I am now really interested in seeing the original documentary, (which I had never heard of), and was impressed with how well they portrayed the real people. This is also quite sad, yet somehow inspiring.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

July 22, 2010
Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange do a beautiful job. They are very real in their portrayals, and watching the documentary, you understand why they took the roles.

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2009
Great performances by Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange of two extremely broken and sad women. Too painful to be entertaining but an interesting viewing experience.

Super Reviewer

July 21, 2009
A film version of a my favorite documentary? Needless to say I had my doubts.

But what is obvious within minutes of starting this film, is that it was made with love and a deep desire to do justice to these two incredible women (the Edies).

After many viewings of the original documentary by the Maysle brothers, I didn't think it was possible to feel more heartbroken by the story of the Beales. But hearing snippets throughout the documentary, given by two women who's grasp on reality (at that point) is questionable at best...does not prepare you for the heartache of watching it all (or most of it) unfold before your very eyes. It is both beautiful and heartbreaking. And both Lange and Barrymore are simply AMAZING as Big and Little Edie (respectively).

While both actresses have obviously put their hearts into their roles, I have to say that there are several moments were Lange's performance is indistinquishable from documentary footage of "Big" Edie. It is more then a little erie.

Aside from suffering from a few "Lifetime Movie Moments" this is a wonderful film, which sheds a little light on the (pre documentary) lives of two of my favorite film heroines.

Super Reviewer

May 15, 2009
"True glamour never fades"

Based on the life stories of the eccentric aunt and first cousin of Jackie Onassis (both named Edith Bouvier Beale aka "Big and Little Edie") raised as Park Avenue débutantes but who withdrew from New York society, taking shelter at their Long Island summer home, "Grey Gardens."

I never knew that Drew Barrymore had it in her. Her performance in "Grey Gardens" is electrifying and inspiring. She is so tragically beautiful in this examination of two women who lose everything. Barrymore's performance is so tragic and desperate. Jessica Lange's character nurtures Barrymore's descent into despair in the role of an over-zealous mother, without much of an idea of what is truly best for her daughter. The bond between Barrymore and Lange is untouchable, stronger than most bonds in on-screen pairings. The pair are quirky, divine, and glamorous, even as their wealth and dignity are forcefully ripped from them. It is truly a struggle to maintain character.

Jeanne Tripplehorn's turn as Jackie O. is quite notable as well. She plays a wonderful opposite to the decaying Lange and Barrymore. This film is truly beautiful and tragic, but is delightful to watch and will be enjoyed for ages.

Super Reviewer

April 25, 2009
Grey Gardens from HBO starring the lovely Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore is a very good quality film. One has to remember that this film is based on real people. Grey Gardens was orginally a documentary with the actual people and then turned into a musical and now a motion picture, The film is not a musical but a look more towards the documentary itself and how these two lovely ladies got to be in the place there were at in the 70's.

You should check this movie out on HBO and see that these ladies had a lovely life and were very inspiring. A very good film and well acted by both leading ladies...great job!!!!

Super Reviewer

April 18, 2009
Superb acting highlights this fictional account of the lives of Big and Little Edie- focusing on events before, during, and after the release fo the documentary Grey Gardens. Once I tried to watch the documentary but didn't watch much before turning it off, finding it boring, weird, and unwatchable. I gave this movie a chance, and, though it drags a bit in places, provides some insight as to why Big and Little Edie were the way they were. Perhaps now that I know more about them, maybe I'll try to rewatch the documentary.
Mark A

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2010
This serves to flesh out the 1975 documentary and to give context to the scenes from that earlier film by showing us how these two eccentric women wound up living in this falling down hulk of a house. The similarity between the two actresses, Jessica Lange as Edith Beale, and Drew Barrymore as Little Edie, and their real-life counterparts was eerie. Both actresses seem to have studied the documentary extensively and mimic the voices and mannerisms almost faultlessly. This viewer found the portrayals annoying until he saw some of the original footage and then realized how close this portrayal came to recreating some of the scenes. But, for all that, one wonders why this film had to be made. As a bio-pic, it is very well done. But ultimately, without the family connection to Jackie Kennedy, would there be any interest? It is sad to see how far the mighty have fallen, but there is a certain amount of voyeurism involved here. Maybe we ought not to look behind the drapes.
Cody H.
Cody H.

Super Reviewer

August 23, 2011
Featuring Oscar worthy performances, Grey Gardens is a touching and beautifully rendered bio-pic that offers a glimpse into familial dysfunction and dependency.
ashley h

Super Reviewer

February 20, 2010
This was such an interesting and sad movie about a mother and daughter that came from wealthy society, only to end up in absolute squalor. I have to think this was one of the earliest episodes of Hoarders because the level of filth and gatbage that they were hoarding was unimaginable. I also thought it was interesting wondering how these people were enough or each other that they could shut everyone else out. Very interesting...
Wu C

Super Reviewer

December 12, 2012
Anyone who's seen the original doc on these ladies will certainly appreciate the performances by Barrymore and Lange.
Leanna E

Super Reviewer

April 5, 2008
Thoroughly enjoyed this. Funny, touching and moving, it is a wonderful portrait of the reclusive Bouvier Beale's. Outstanding performances from Lange and Barrymore. You can tell that Drew Barrymore put her heart and soul into this character. It's her best role in a long time.

Even if you have no background information on the family or Grey Gardens, this will hold its own, and is totally worth a watch.
Sarah P

Super Reviewer

November 29, 2009
This was really good - probably Drew Barrymore's best performance. It was sad, but also hopeful.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

March 15, 2009
LOVED this movie. Drew Barrymore has never been this good. I think she has to win an Emmy this year. The sets are perfection and the movie flows through time with no confusion.
Audrey L

Super Reviewer

April 28, 2009
Edie Bouvier Beale was an aunt to the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and a member of New York's elite society in the early 1900's through the depression.era. "Little" Edie is her daughter/namesake-a colorfully deluded yet charming young woman in the 1930's who frowns upon her debutante ball and the presure to make a proper marital match as she has dreams of becoming a successful actor/singer.

Big Edie decides to move permanently to the family's East Hampton's summer home near the start of the depression and she and her husband enter into an agreement whereby they "live separate lives". A trust developed by Mr. Beale for his wife to maintain her standard of living eventually expired as did the husband. Eventually (1950's/60's) "Grey Garden's", a once grand testament to the family's name and social status, became a decrepit,run down eyesore and an atrocity to the Hampton's community. Edie and her daughter live in filthy conditions in the once grand house, with cats,racoons and other vermin flourishing and defecating all over... The isolation within which the Edies lived caused them to become increasingly eccentirc and somewhat blinded to their disgusting living conditions while living largely in their recollections (real and imagined) of their affluent past life,social gaity and interest in the arts. They eat pate and ice cream,boiled corn, in the bedroom they both share while the widlife have charge of the rest of the house.

Following the assssintion of John F. Kennedy, his widow is socially humiliated in the press by front page stories on the squalid living conditions and eccentricities of her aunt and cousin. She intervenes to fix up the house and prevent it from being condemned.

In the mid 70's the women allowed a team of film-makers to create a documentary of their lives. This current film is a recreation of the making of the documentary starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

WHen I saw the film for the first time-it was followed by the real documentary and the BIG BLACK LINE between cinema and reality was like a psychological smack in the face. The original documentary is far less gay and endearing than the 'remake". In fact it was horrifyingly candid in filming these two women living in their shamelessly filthy conditions. I could'nt help but feel that the film took complete advantage of eccentricity transformed into crazy-particularly "little Edie's delusions of escape; making it big in show business; and this documentary being her "comeback" to a career that had never started.

4 stars for the performances and 20 Xanex recommended if you watch the real McCoy which is disturbing and gratuitous taking advantage of 2 women not in touch with reality.

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2009
WOW, I loved Grey Gardens. Drew Barrymore did an excellent portrayal of Little Edie and Jessica Lange as Big Edie blew me away!
This is a wonderful movie based on the lives of two eccentric, reclusive women and the choices they made which had a major affect on their lives in their later years.
The mother/daughter dynamics unveiled throughout the movie demonstrated their love for each other but also was indicative of their codependent relationship. I also feel that there was some exploitation of these unconventional, remarkable women by the original filmmakers.
Nevertheless, this is an excellent movie and is definitely worth watching.

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2009
A great way to ge to know the Beales if you haven't seen the documentary, a grand companion piece if you have. Jessica Lange is completely unrecognizable in her role as Edith (you could not tell her apart from the real woman) and Drew Barrymore gives a performance that needs to be seen to be believed... that is, to believe she CAN actually act if she sets her mind to it. This one also manages to leave you with a happy feeling by the end, which is something you cannot say at all in the original. Would've been better if it just didn't rush some things so much.
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