Iconic portrait of eccentric, reclusive mother and daughter duo Big and Little Edie, close relatives of Jackie Onassis who live together in a filthy, decaying mansion in the Hamptons with a slew of cats and raccoons.
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Maysles are great film makers, but there are more interesting people than this in my neighborhood. I think that if they weren't relatives of Jackie Onassis, they would not be "cult figures". The cats and raccoons are cute, but I have plenty of those in my neighborhood as well.
The real life Miss Havisham, whose humanity surpasses the tragedy of her plight. A haunting documentary that may be subversive but seeks not to humiliate its subject - instead, showing that even the most eccentric have heart, no matter how marginalised.
Transfixing and entertaining in a bizarre way. The mother and daughter pair in Grey Gardens have a fluid understanding of past and present, and their inability to escape each other was especially fascinating. There were times I felt the film was exploitative in a "look how weird they are" type of way; however, our understanding of mental illness was less sophisticated in the 1970s.
Highly recommended. The Maysles use to ask questions voice-over and let the Beales do the show. Edith and Edie Beale are not the most interesting people in the world but I can't deny they are...special to say the least. Also interesting how Edie Beale became, thanks to this documentary, one of the many idols of the gay community. I sure would have appreciated the Bouvier family's point of view about Edith and Edith.
The biggest problem with this documentary was that watching it felt exploitative and voyeuristic. I disagree with those who saw warmth and affection in this documentary - there was very little of that coming from the Maysles brothers. They took two vulnerable women with a famous connection, filmed their descent into decay, delusion and destitution and got accolades for doing so. Historically interesting, but obscene.