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4.7 out of 5 stars43
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on June 3, 2015
Such a tremendous history and air given to the Bouvier name in this, without hardly any mention or attention to Jacqueline. Yet, throughout the observing, it's as if she's nearby. Or somehow her illustrious life is only a shade or two better than this distant relation. Even in squalor, disdain, and critical questioning - the downturn is only temporary. As long as the memories survive, the Bouvier name supersedes any dis-favorable speculation. Both their ships may have sailed long ago, but they have the endearing belief that the ocean is tending in awe of them still. Pitiful in one regard, but also diligent and optimistic in another. As long as you can live your history, you never really have to look back on it. The future shall always respect the past. And whether the viewer thinks they're crack pots, or Jackie should've diverted some of the wealth to them - they both deserve respect for what they have, are, and will be for living for time to come.
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on December 3, 2013
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 after the Bradley's had purchased and restored it. Hard to believe vines, trees and raccoons were once occupants with the Beales.
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on August 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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on December 16, 2003
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 6, 2015
Decades before HOARDERS and the Kardashians and the cesspool of Reality TV, GREY GARDENS took an intimate look at the daily lives of two fallen women of former aristocracy: Big Edie and Little Edie Beale in this trainwreck of a documentary that shows their hilarious yet tragic co-dependency among filthy living conditions in a dilapidated mansion.

I can't say this warrants repeat viewings but once it's on you cannot stop watching. The funniest bits are the small trivial moments that demonstrate the ladies' bizarre attitudes toward everyday life like when guests arrive for a birthday party and Big Edie remarks that the dining room chairs are dirty, Little Edie simply lines them all with newspapers! Later she is seen ripping open bags of Wonder Bread to scatter in the attic for the hungry raccoons. And when a black cat is seen defecating behind a vintage oil painting of Mama Beale, she just shrugs it off and says she feels honored! Little Edie's presumable hair loss is covered by her resourceful use of various scarves, towels, sweaters and flags as fashionable headwear and her favorite outfit of choice seems to be a 1940s styled leopard print bathing suit paired with well-worn white dancing heels. Mama also favors strapless swimwear but hers succumbs to gravity at the most inopportune moments.

Both of these women are clearly off their rockers yet the picture doesn't really seem as exploitive as it could have been. Still, worth a look for fans of offbeat cinema.
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on April 5, 2004
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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on December 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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on July 22, 2003
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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on 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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on January 29, 2002
There is nothing like...nor will there ever be anything like "Grey Gardens"; the hysterical, tragic, devastating, yet uplifting portrait of two extraordinary women who, despite great strength and character, are ultimately defined and paralyzed by their class. At times it plays like a East Hampton "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane"-- at others, it is as moving and tragic as anything that came out of the mind of O'Neill or Miller. To spend a few hours with the Beale women is to reflect on a lifetime of choices we make, choices that are made for us, and the difficulty inherent in coming to terms with both. From "Little" Edie's exposition on choosing her "costume of the day" to her unforgettable rendition of the BMI march song "Grey Gardens" is a film to be not only watched, but experienced. Whether you are entertained, saddened, or horrified, you will never forget "Big" Edith Bovier Beale, and her daughter,the late, great "Little" Edie.
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