I think it’s safe to say that for anyone familiar with the documentary Grey Gardens, HBO’s Grey Gardens will be one of, if not the most, anticipated cable movies of the year. (I know, it sounds weird and slightly confusing, but stay with me, it’s worth it.) The documentary tells the story of Edith Beale (Big Edie) and her daughter of the same name, referred to as Little Edie.
Former high-society dames, Edie and Edie live in a decrepit mansion on the East End of Long Island. They spend their days reminiscing about the past, like their times with their famous cousin, Jackie O, and singing songs from yesteryear as the walls around them literally crumble. They live in squalor and abject poverty but that doesn’t stop them from dancing or gossiping about 30-year-old cocktail parties as if they happened the night before. Their house is a caving cocoon of fading memories and failed dreams. The documentary is heartbreaking, touching, hilarious and endlessly fascinating.
HBO’s Grey Gardens is a look at the women before, during and just after the filming of the documentary. It tells the story of just how these scions of society wound up so impoverished and so delusional. In the film, Jessica Lange plays Big Edie and Drew Barrymore plays Little Edie. Check out the promo HBO released last week.
I must admit, I was nervous when I heard that Barrymore was going to play Little Edie, but when I saw her performance in the recently released promo, I was very impressed. Her Edie voice is eerily spot-on. Perhaps Miss Barrymore is channeling some of her roots as she too comes from an eccentric old-society clan.
In the promo, we see glimpses of the Beales women before “the fall.” They look beautiful and elegant, like nothing can touch them. Sadly, however, we know it did. Will the film’s look into their past reveal more about the women of Grey Gardens, or will it, like the documentary, create even more questions, mystery and wonder? Either way, I can’t wait to find out on April 18.