Grey Gardens

  • Michael Sucsy (2009)
  • US
  • 104 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Grey Gardens, the outstanding 1975 cult documentary from the Maysles brothers (Gimme Shelter), offered a glimpse into the bizarre world of Edith Bouvier Beale and her adult daughter of the same name. Relatives of Jackie Kennedy, the Beales lived in abject squalor in their formerly grand home on Long Island, New York. Taking that documentary as inspiration and with many scenes in common, this is a biopic of "Big" Edie (Jessica Lange) and "Little" Edie (Drew Barrymore) that depicts their lives both before and after their fall from grace. The film belies its TV-movie origins, with lovingly re-created sets and fantastic costumes, while Barrymore's Golden Globe-winning performance really stands out. She's simply brilliant as the eccentric daughter, going beyond mere impersonation to embody the spirit of a troubled woman attempting to break free from a bitter and controlling mother. Barrymore's sparkle means that everyone and everything else can sometimes feel flat in comparison, but this is still an evocative portrait of women on the edge.

Plot Summary

Biographical drama starring Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore. Socialite Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie are relatives of First lady Jackie Kennedy and the toast of New York society, until they decide to abandon their extravagant lifestyle and withdraw to their home Grey Gardens in the seaside resort of East Hampton. The years pass and Grey Gardens becomes a wreck that's infested by vermin as the two women lose touch with reality.

Cast and crew


"Little" Edith Bouvier Beale
Drew Barrymore
"Big" Edith Bouvier Beale
Jessica Lange
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jeanne Tripplehorn
Julius Krug
Daniel Baldwin
George "Gould" Strong
Malcolm Gets
Albert Maysles
Arye Gross
David Maysles
Justin Louis
Phelan Beale
Ken Howard


Michael Sucsy

Other Information