You may have heard or seen that Grey Gardens, the documentary filmed by the Maysles brothers, had its 40th anniversary this month. Though I had never dug into the story behind the infamous house before watching the film (a birthday present from my sister), I was so intrigued by Little Edie on the front of the criterion case that I felt compelled to watch it. That luxurious fur juxtaposed with crumbling grandeur in East Hampton… little did I know how bizarre and amazing it all truly was. I had to split the documentary up over two nights; my stomach just couldn’t handle it all at once.
While a house overrun by cats and boiling corn on the cob at one’s bedside may strike us all as strange, that was the reality of Big and Little Edie Beale, first relatives of the impeccable Jackie O. My first snicker about it was that no one, not even Jackie, was spared the misfortune of a crazy cousin, but in truth it was a heart-wrenching tale of regret, blame, and also loyalty.
I won’t give you a play by play, but this quote has been gnawing at my brain since I watched it two months ago.
“I see myself as a little girl and all that…When I go to New York City, I see myself as a woman, but here, I’m just mother’s little daughter.”
Isn’ that something? The documentary isn’t for everyone, I know that much. Bt tell me, have you seen Grey Gardens?