Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale

The Kennedy’s are the closest thing that America has to royalty. Every royal family has members it would rather forget about and for the Kennedy’s it was Jackie’s aunt and first cousin. The two lived in a rundown mansion in the Hamptons. In fact, it was so run down that the cops tried to evict them and Jackie herself had to step in on their behalf to bring the house up to code. Then came the Maysles’ brothers of Salesman and Gimmie Shelter fame to give us a look at the world these two women have created in a mansion called Grey Gardens.

Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale

Edith Bouvier Beale

At first, the mother and daughter are just funny and pleasant to watch, but as it goes on a seemingly unhealthy relationship begins to emerge. Little Edie goes around living as if tomorrow she will leave to go back to New York City where she feels she was ripped away by her mother. Edith is nearly bedridden and although we get glimpses of a darker side she mainly shows us how she has learned to cut through Edie’s bull. My favorite quotes from her are, “Everything’s good that you didn’t do” and “People discover me every time I go out.”

The impression this film will give you is that of a woman in her twilight years who likes things her way while a daughter who can’t take responsibility for her life is finding something at Grey Gardens that makes it worth her while despite all her bitching and moaning. The directors show us bits of the estate and a couple of rooms, but almost all the action goes down in a few places where little Edie says nothing with volumes of words while her mother says a lot with few.

This is one of those unique experiences that will stay with you. It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely why, but it will. They are quite the characters and I highly recommend you see them.

You can watch it over at Hulu at the time this was published: Grey Gardens

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