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Grey Gardens (The Criterion Collection)

Edith Bouvier Beale , Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale , Albert Maysles , David Maysles    PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 42.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Grey Gardens (The Criterion Collection) + Grey Gardens + The Beales of Grey Gardens - Criterion Collection
Price For All Three: CDN$ 80.50

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Product Description

Meet Big and Little Edie Beale-high society dropouts, mother and daughter, reclusive cousins of Jackie O.-thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion. Five years after Gimme Shelter, the Maysles unveiled this impossibly intimate portrait of the unexpected, an eerie echo of the Kennedy Camelot, which has since become a cult classic and established Little Edie as fashion icon and philosopher queen.


Grey Gardens is the name of a neglected, sprawling estate gone to seed. The crumbling mansion was home to Edith Bouvier Beale, often referred to as "Big Edie," and her daughter, "Little Edie." The East Hampton, Long Island, home became the center of quite a scandal when it was revealed in 1973 that the reclusive aunt and cousin to Jackie O. were living in a state of poverty and filth. That's the background to this 1976 film portrait by cinéma vérité pioneers Albert and David Maysles, but it's only incidental to the fascinating story they discover inside the estate walls.

The two Edies have lived in almost complete seclusion since the mid-1950s, ever since Big Edie's husband abandoned her and Little Edie (then a young socialite on the verge of a dancing career, or so she claims) was called home to care for her depressed mother. Twenty years later they continue to live in their memories while camped out in a single bedroom of the 28-room mansion overrun with cats (who use the floor as their litter box). Rehashing mistakes and missed chances with an accusing banter that becomes more stinging and angry as the documentary progresses, they exist in a sad codependency brings new meaning to the term dysfunctional. Disturbing and discomforting, it comes off like a freak show at times, but for all their arguments and recriminations, the Maysles reveal two women abandoned by their families who are left to cling to each other, for better or worse. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating look at Dysfunction Dec 16 2003
By A Customer
Once you see this film you are hooked. It's as if Little Edie and Big Edie take over your senses. Perhaps one of the oddest films I've ever seen. Intially I didn't even know what to think..truly a bizarre slice of life these two women. It should not be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beales of Grey Gardens (documentary) Aug. 4 2009
These women were mesmerizing to observe. What a life.
The Maysles captured an amazing story.
Beautiful young Edie, lost in her own world. Big Edie trying to maintain her dreams. Together what a study of mother/daughter devotion.
You must purchase the movie with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. These talented actresses portrayed these American high breds so perfectly through their rise and fall from debutante balls to pitiful social decay. Bravo
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life in a Fishbowl...complete w/Flakes April 5 2004
By Tami
Happened to catch this on the IFC when first released...was absolutely riveted!!! I think it holds even more meaning if you are a female.......I made my mother watch it and we could not believe the similarities altho we are not like the Beale family. (I do get out..I am a flight attendant) But my mother and I are extremely close and the "dance" those two do are strikingly familiar to us....to me what is most apparent at first glance is the despiration Edie feels about leaving, she reminds me of a person that is incarcerated..time stops for them..in their emotional, mental growth. Then it makes me angry that Big Edie could ever be so selfish as to just "take" her daughters life from her..was it out of jealousy?Was it truly out of need? Did she just give up after her husband left her? You almost feel that it was all meant to be tho, especially from the way Big Edie describes her sons, she saw them so differently than she saw Edie. And then,times were so different for women back then.Excellant movie,I am sure the Kennedy and Bouvier Families were mortified!!! But we love them!!! It would be wonderful to see such individuality in everyone!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A True Documentary Classic Dec 6 2003
The old woman (Big Edie) and the her elder daughter (Little Edie), both confined to a large, old, decrept home, focused on lost memories and events that never happened.
Little Edie is largely focused on her youth, wishing that she had taken up opportunities in the past that she turned down. Her mother, Big Edie, tells her daughter that her regret over not doing things in the past is meaningless because back then, Little Edie genuinely did not want to do those things. That is perhaps one of the most philosophical moments in the documentary.
This film is very revealing, and it is a truly intimate portrayal of two women. You learn more about then perhaps than you otherwise would in a typical documentary that asks why they are important, what is their significance to their rich and well-known relative, Jackie O, and how did they end up in this situation.
This movie will be implanted in the public persona for many years to come, particularly because of the radical fashion sense of Little Edie, and also because she demonstrates that people do change their behavior, if even slightly, once a camera is nearby.
Michael Gordon
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5.0 out of 5 stars how grey was my garden... July 22 2003
Format:VHS Tape
Personal tragedy, extreme eccentricity and isolation are the ties that bind an elderly mother and her aging daughter to their decrepit estate in the Hamptons. Edith Bouvier (the daughter) is first cousin to Jackie Bouvier aka Jackie Kennedy but something bad has happened to this side of the pedigree. The money seems to have run out, the house in sympathy with the general state of affairs is in rapid decline and taking the grounds with it. The women, ostracized by the Hampton elite, must feed off each other for companionship telling the same stories, expressing the same pain over and over - until that is the film crew shows up. Edith (a woman in her 60's) begins to blossom, flirt and dance with and for the camera. Having a fresh audience Edith, inbetween costume changes, coyly tells the camera her family secrets. While the mother, also named Edith, lays in bed with her numerous cats and tells a different tale. Rather then take you out of their world the camera crew acts as a liaison between the cloistral world of mother and daughter. Grey Gardens is the reason I love documentary film making - for the pure voyeuristic pleasure of people watching.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE "EDIES" May 19 2003
Being a biography buff, I was familiar with Kennedy-Bouvier lore but somehow had skipped right over any reference to Big and Little Edie. When I saw the documentary on Sundance Cable and ordered the DVD I instantly became enthralled with these two fascinating characters. I have watched the film many, many times, and feel that I have discovered friends that I want to protect and care for (although reality forces me to accept that they are gone forever, and it is as if family members have left me). After each viewing I don't want to leave their home and presence. The emotion I feel for them is amazing, running amok. That the Maysles have been able to capture real lives and real character this way is phenomenal. You will love the Beales, be entertained by them, then suffer and hurt for them. With all your heart you want them to be okay and you make yourself believe that somewhere Big Edie sings a melody written in adoration of her by Gould while Little Edie dances, with her scarf made of rainbows fluttering about her head of glorious hair.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu Gardens
The movie is a classic, the transfer is the best I've seen, the extra features and 2nd movie are great... It's the must own version of this groundbreaking documentary. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cenobyte
5.0 out of 5 stars Good stuff!
This product arrived intact and was in working order. It was what I expected and I am happy. There are any negative things only positive.
Published 7 months ago by Phil Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully entertaining.
I enjoy the original grey gardens with the Beales I was a tad leery about this film.
This was extremely well done, one thing I enjoyed were the scenes viewings of the home... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Alleyn Abel
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent documentary
this is a must see for all. Not only does it show their lives, but also how they think. Great film!
Published 14 months ago by snoopypuppy23 (Troy)
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning
One of the most brilliant films ever made. you'll want to move in to Grey Gardens.
Published on Nov. 4 2003 by frank vigliotti
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Not Easy Being Rich
It's amazing to see how bizarre the life of a "celebrity" family can unfold. Related to Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, the once gorgeous Edith, who sounds remarkably... Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2003 by maggie
4.0 out of 5 stars A mother and daughters sad story that wins your heart
I have never felt so much for two women that had it all and lost it but yet still had eachother in the end. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2003 by Emilio Caponigro, Jr.
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