Tuesday, July 21, 2009


                 HBO Films

No one has a perfect life. In fact, some lives are like slow-motion train wrecks.

I saw the HBO film Grey Gardens starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange last Saturday. It was based on the original 1975 documentary by the Maysles brothers. This true story of two reclusive women living in a decaying house in the Hamptons is a haunting examination of life, aging, and missed opportunities. What really got to me was how the house and its furnishings became a character in its own right. As a homeowner who has struggled with keeping a cedar-shake covered home in repair, the situation had a very personal meaning for me.

How are our lives are shaped by the place where we dwell? When does comfort turn into claustrophobia? When does the familiar become oppressive? Big Edie and Little Edie, the two women, become oblivious to the squalor over the years. When their relative Jackie Onassis comes to see them they behave as if everything is perfectly normal, as if they were still in the Hamptons social scene of the 1930's and 40's.

Any one who has dealt with aging parents knows how hard the transition to old age can be. This film can give every viewer a new perspective to this universal situation.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Cellar Door said...

How does it compare to the original "Grey Gardens"? I'm a big fan. Is it just a remake, essentially, or is there more to it?

Blogger Professor Batty said...

It has a lot of the "back story" which the original lacked. Big Edie's son said that it showed a more complete and compassionate view of his mother. Both Jessica and Drew are tremendous, and the bonus features has scenes from the original compared to the remake.

Blogger Cellar Door said...

I will have to check it out, then!

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