Grey Gardens

7.41 h 43 min2009X-RayALL
[HBO] HD. The lives of two eccentric, mutually dependent women play out in a decaying house known as Grey Gardens. Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange.
Michael Sucsy
Drew BarrymoreJessica LangeJeanne Tripplehorn
English [CC]
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Supporting actors
Ken HowardKenneth WelshArye GrossJustin LouisDaniel BaldwinMalcolm Gets
Lucy Barzun DonnellyRachael HorovitzMichael SucsyDavid Coatsworth
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4.6 out of 5 stars

2143 global ratings

  1. 82% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 6% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 3% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

David SeamanReviewed in the United States on April 25, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is even more powerful than the original documentary
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If HBO has not yet convinced you that they are capable of brilliance then “Grey Gardens“ will be the last vote. Jessica Lange once again astonishes us with the breadth of her ability as a character actor. She plays Big Edie and she is remarkable.

Like “Merrily We Roll Along” we see where these two women end up and with the use of flashbacks we learn how this mother-daughter socialite get there. As such it reveals another unvoiced way in which women have been subjugated. These women were cast aside and it was everyone who forgot them.

This film creatively fills in the years between the war and Watergate so that the shock of “After” isn’t as strong thus giving more sympathy to the two women. They merely want to exist yet the world won’t let them do that without massive intervention and conflict. As soon as their men used them they were discarded like empty tuna fish cans.

But it is Drew Barrymore‘s performance that is the most powerful here. She expertly plays Little Edie. This is in part because we’ve never seen the depth of what she can do. And not only has she managed to capture the mannerisms of a little Edie but her performance is naked, raw, honest. She’s beautifully playing mental illness without becoming a stereotype and this is a great challenge. Barrymore nails it. Shaved eyebrows with no makeup. A must-see.

Jeanne Triplehorn plays Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis. Of course. Excellent.

The tag ending is very clever with a Heart of the Ocean/ Jack and Rose reminiscence. The Premier has a Sunset Boulevard sadness but Little Edie finally gets her curtain call.
25 people found this helpful
AmazonViewerReviewed in the United States on March 27, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
What really happened
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The original Gray Gardens documentary starring the actual big Edie and little Edie was released in 1976 so if you enjoyed this you might want to watch the "real thing" now. In this case truth is definitely stranger than fiction. There is one thing about this Hollyweird remake that I question and disagree with. The scene where little Edie tells her first cousin Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis she could've married JFK's older brother and been the first lady instead of Jacqueline. She said it in a very confrontational, jealous, spiteful way. I wonder if this really happened or if the script writers for this version used artistic license to fabricate this scene for dramatic effect. Either way, I don't like it. It is wrong to lie about someone and besmirch their memory when they are not here anymore to defend themselves especially when you are making money because of their lives and story. Or if it did happen it was still wrong to put the scene in because they should've respected the Maysles' brothers decision not to include it to protect her dignity. Or if the info came from a relative or friend of Jacqueline then the family chose to keep that info private. So either way it was exploitative of the makers of this version to include that. Other than that though I really enjoyed this rendition. Drew Barrymore as always is very good. (Except she didn't quite nail little Edie's accent, but in every other way she did an amazing job.) It really filled in the gaping holes of questions in the story that the original left unanswered. Although I can't help but wonder if the whole thing about little Edie having an affair with a married man in NY is true, or just a complete fabrication or if it was patched together remnants of old rumor and gossip. I guess we'll never know.
9 people found this helpful
Isadora CocoaReviewed in the United States on April 19, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Must See Film
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Having watched the Documentary many years ago, I was so excited to see what they could add to this interesting and poignant film by the Maysles.
Well, they added just enough.....some background of the Edies from days of their prime, etc which made into a wonderful, interesting movie about the Beale-Bouvier family.
Both actresses enveloped their roles to the point where I honestly at some moments could not tell if they had thrown in footage from the docu. Both Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore were nominated for Emmies for Best Actress and Lange won. I felt it could have been a TIE. Whoever casted this film knew exactly who to place where. Even Jean Tripplehorn as Jackie O was a well thought out casting decision.
I loved how the new film would change the medium of the movie (from digital to film) when an exact scene from the docu was being planned out.
It's a sad story, but uplifting in a crazy sort of way. For you see, little Edie was so way ahead of her time and this passion for acting was stifled by her mother. Yet, she never, in the end, really blamed her mother (Big Edie).
I hold Grey Gardens as one of the Top 10 films I have seen in my life. A perfect film with Bravura performances, scenery, costumes,...Just Perfect. It is the only film I watched on my computer, because it was no longer offered by HBO on U-Verse.
25 people found this helpful
LaramieSeattleWrenReviewed in the United States on December 12, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
I saw the original Grey Gardens and this was great!
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Loved how Drew and Jessica did such great jobs in their portrayal. It added some needed background to the Grey Gardens documentary about the depth of lives prior to landing and never leaving Grey Gardens. It is a sad tale of two seemingly depressed, and women never "catching their golden rings" but also a great tale of love between a mother and daughter and the truly whimsical way they observed and lived life. Edie says eccentric means "Poor" and yes that may be true but as for the depth of their love for each other they were NOT poor. A house that goes to that level of disrepair even the mess seen at the time where little Edie comes home and mom is alone after being dumped by her husband for "the young thing" as many do, shows that Edith Sr was already depressed and unable to clean that huge house alone and little Edie lost her dreams too at that place and before. Thus two depressed and then financially cut off human beings ended up living in filth and mold and more without any of the other "family" even really caring enough until it hit the papers to "inquire" how they were. Jacqueline helped sending a check and according to this Lee helped with the clean up ONCE. With the money that some of them had, and the obvious depression signs all around, it might have behooved someone to take a more active interest in them. That was then. Ben Bradlee of the newspaper Bradlee and his wife did purchase it after Little Edie was left alone and mom had died and apparently refurbished the rather historic house. I'm glad they did. It is a captivating movie, especially if you have seen Grey Gardens earlier because it delves more deeply into who and why. I enjoyed it.
3 people found this helpful
SadieAnnReviewed in the United States on November 15, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Grey Gardens -This film was wonderful
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Incredible performances by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore in this movie. I've always been a big Jessica Lange fan, I'd go to watch that lady read the phone book. But it was Drew Barrymore that really blew me away in this film. I'm used to seeing her play very atypical roles that never seemed to really show much range, more light and fluffy work. But this is what I'd consider a true breakout role for Barrymore. In this film she literally became "Little" Edie. I've seen the original documentary film of Grey Gardens, and I urge anyone who's going to watch this movie to take a look at the Documentary with the REAL Edie's first. Then be the judge. Drew Barrymore completely nailed Little Edie's voice, accent, the way she moved. It was incredible to watch.

This film has a lingering sadness to it. The story of dreams and aspirations unfulfilled. The dynamic between this mother-daughter is fascinating to watch unfold, and in the end a final peace is made between them for all they silently blamed each other for through all the years. Just watch this movie. I don't know if Lange or Barrymore won any awards for this film...but if they didn't, they should have.
4 people found this helpful
Anony MouseReviewed in the United States on May 12, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
some thoughts about this film
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I saw the documentary decades ago. Finally I saw the fictionalized version last week via Prime. I must say that the two leads did a wonderful job portraying the Beale duo. The before life gives an insight into why they became the infamous Big and Little Edie. I feel a great deal of sadness for Little Edie. She's the stronger and more optimistic one. She didn't give up her desire to create and to perform (her wardrobe, humming, and prancing). Her mother, on the other hand, used singing and dancing to avoid her duty as a wife and mother. The times she crushed her daughter's spirit were the hardest to watch, in the documentary and movie version.

Sometimes I wonder what would become of Little Edie if she didn't return to Grey Gardens in 1952 when she was 35 and not able to marry a well to do man. She saw her mother's boredom being a wife and mother, she's not inclined to repeat the pattern. If she's a Vanderbilt or Rockefeller she may have a trust fund to live on her own. The more I thought about it the more I am thankful that today's women can choose to make their own fortune and seek out the life they want to live. They don't have to find a husband or to make motherhood the sole purpose in life. Not that there's anything wrong with being a wife and a mother. It's the choice that matters. Millions of women still see marriage and motherhood to be their calling. For those who don't, they don't have to end up like the Beales women, abandoned and alone like the feral cats in that decaying house.
One person found this helpful
BobbiReviewed in the United States on April 24, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
See Them, Understand Them, Love Them
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This is by far better than I ever expected it to be! It really is a movie inside a movie as it covers the making of the Indy film ''Grey Gardens'' back in the 80's and or 90's.
As may be known by most, these ladies were the arty and eccentric Aunt and cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. There are many flashbacks to the past of these women's' lives, and what brought them to what the film shows as their current circumstances. The film maker brothers at first seem to want to exploit them, but these gals are smart, as well as eccentric. We see in the story the why's and the when's and the who's of their lives. We learn more about the East Coast rich and famous, especially of the 30's and 40's venue. We see who comes to their rescue, in a somewhat distant way, probably for 'appearances'.
This movie is worth the time, and money, and could I even say.... the compassion, to watch. It will take most of us to a different place. We will even learn more of the fate of the old estate itself. But most of all we will learn of the lives of two sweet souls whose lives stated out so much different than most, and ended up so much different than most of us. ( Or did they? )
17 people found this helpful
Louc0517Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Watch the Maysles Brothers Documentary first
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Then watch this HBO production; and you will appreciate even more how brilliant and uncanny Jessica Lange is as "Big Edie." It's almost supernatural to watch her capture the essence and spirit of Big Edie. This is no mere performance; she totally inhabits the woman; she becomes her (watch the "Tea for Two" number and be amazed!). And this isn't the first time Lange pulls that off; she does it with Patsy Cline and Francis Farmer. At this point in her career, you expect Lange to be brilliant - and from Francis (ok, I may be in the minority here, but I even liked her in King Kong; I knew there was more there than what we were seeing in that film) through AHS: Freak Show - well, she is amazing. And I look forward to seeing her in O'Neill's "Long Days Journey Into Night" in May on Broadway.

But the real revelation here, for me anyway, is Barrymore. Nothing, NOTHING, she has done previously will prepare you for what she does in this film. She is miraculous. Again, only if you watch the original documentary can you appreciate how Barrymore inhabits this character completely; from the voice, to the costumes, to the mannerisms. For me anyway, this performance came out of nowhere. She is brilliant.

I can never argue with Lange winning an Emmy but If there was ever a time when it should have been a tie, this was it. And since it did come down to either/or, I personally would have gone with Barrymore. Not because she's necessarily "better" than Lange, but simply because her's is the most surprisingly astounding performance.

I can't recommend both "Grey Gardens" enough.
3 people found this helpful
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