The Beales of Grey Gardens | Chicago Reader

The Beales of Grey Gardens

Grey Gardens (1976), the Maysles brothers' cult documentary about two eccentric relatives of Jacqueline Onassis living in squalor on their East Hampton estate, recently spawned a successful Broadway musical and plans for a dramatic version to star Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. In response the surviving brother, Albert Maysles, has assembled an hour and a half of outtakes from the original shoot for theatrical and DVD release, focusing even more heavily this time on “Little Edie”—the flowery Edith Bouvier Beale, who cared for her dyspeptic mother, “Big Edie.” Little Edie models her strange getups, studies an astrology paperback through a magnifying glass, holds forth on the horrors of alcohol and the strength of her Catholic faith, and delivers numerous spontaneous singing performances (she first emerges from the house crooning “You Ought to Be in Pictures”). Dave Kehr wrote that Grey Gardens revealed the “exploitative heart” of cinema verite, and the sequel reveals more of the calculations on both sides (Little Edie confesses to having a serious crush on Albert). 91 min.

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