Grey Gardens

Call me sheltered, but I’d never heard of Edith Beale — either one — before last night. Sharon’s sister Ann was visiting and insisted that we watch the HBO production Grey Gardens, a film based on a 1975 documentary about the eccentric Beale women of tony Easthampton, New York.

Big Edie and Little Edie (pictured at right), aunt and cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, occupied a crumbling mansion called Grey Gardens for more than half a century. To make a long, complex story far too short, their lives were Sunset Boulevard meets Mommie Dearest. Stars Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore nailed their roles.

It’s a free download right now if you’ve got HBO On Demand. Watch it, and then look up the Beale women on the web. You’ll be startled at how accurately Lange and Barrymore play the real women. Grey Gardens is an odd, touching portrait of two women perfectly described as “a half-ounce of talent and a full measure of stubbornness”.

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