Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Grey Gardens!

I've been thinking about Grey Gardens, one of our favorite movies, a lot lately. We watched Grey Gardens and its sequel, The Beales of Grey Gardens late last year and have been in love with the Beales ever since. Grey Gardens is a documentary by the Masyles brothers (who also did the equally fantastic documentaries Gimme Shelter and Salesman) which came out in 1972. It's about Big and Little Edie Beale, a mother and daughter living in spinsterhood together at their decrepit Grey Gardens estate. The Beales were socialites and cousin to Jackie Onassis.

With great skill and subtlety, the movie touches on themes of family, class, and the hunger for fame. What really makes it great is how weird and charming the two ladies are. They are so quotable and (almost) unintentionally hilarious. One of my favorite quotes is when Little Edie answers the door to let the Maysles in to start the days filming. She says cheerfully, "Come on in, we're not ready!"

I'm having troubles getting this to embed, so if it doesn't work, try the link here.

Allie's been watching Gilmore Girls on DVD and the other day it had a scene in which the mother and daughter characters watched Grey Gardens together. It was so exciting to see the Beales again and really reminded me that I need to buy the DVDs.

They made a hit Broadway musical out of Grey Gardens and Allie and I just bought tickets to go see the touring show in June. The documentary is very well-suited for a musical adaptation, since it is already full of tons of singing and dancing (the Beales loved to perform for the camera).

There's also that HBO movie with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange that just came out. At first, I wasn't into the idea because I thought of it as a cover of the already perfect documentary. Then I realized, there's no reason it needs to be confined to just the period of the Beales' life covered in the documentary. Hopefully, it will show plenty of the stuff from before and after the documentary years.

Anyhow, I highly recommend you rent or buy the DVDs. Documentary lovers, and most women should really enjoy it.

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