Directed by: Michael Sucsy
Starring: Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange, Jeanne Tripplehorn
So every once in a while I do what I call a “challenge”; five movies with a similar theme chosen by a friend of mine which I watch all in a row, then review for a day’s worth of movies. I haven’t done one in a while, but the other day I decided to pick one up again and here we are, a “crazy recluse” challenge! The first film on my list was Grey Gardens, and after watching it I’m starting to think that he actually intended me to watch the documentary that this film is a dramatization of, but oh well, what’s done is done.
That’s right, it’s a dramatic retelling of a documentary shot in the 70’s about Jackie O’s cousin and aunt, who had been living alone in an old mansion for years without leaving. This version of the movie goes back and forth in time, including the cousin (Barrymore) as a young woman trying to find a rich man to marry so her family would be able to stay in high society, but it doesn’t really work out and they just end up letting their house go to hell, filling it with a million cats and raccoons and just letting them roam about the place freely. With no money left to fix up the place, the scandal of their awful living conditions makes the former first lady ashamed enough to remodel their house for them so they can keep living in it, which they do, more or less up until their deaths.
Drew Barrymore really hams it up in this movie and her fake New England accent is awful, but overall it’s not that bad of a flick. I wish it had done less back-and-forth in time stuff and tried for an actual plot, but as a biopic it’s not really something that’s necessary. It’s interesting enough, but really all it did was make me want to watch the actual documentary it’s based on. And who makes a dramatization of a documentary, anyway? Especially if you then go and name it the exact same thing, that’s just fucking weird. I guess not even documentaries are immune to being remade here in the glorious 21st century. Ugh.