Grey Gardens
Promotional poster
Written byMichael Sucsy
Patricia Rozema
Directed byMichael Sucsy
StarringDrew Barrymore
Jessica Lange
Jeanne Tripplehorn
Malcolm Gets
Daniel Baldwin
Ken Howard
Arye Gross
Justin Louis
ComposerRachel Portman
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
ProducersLucy Barzun Donnelly
Rachael Horovitz
Albert Maysles
David Coatsworth
Michael Sucsy
CinematographyMike Eley
EditorsAlan Heim
Lee Percy
Running time104 minutes
Production companiesLocomotive Films
Flower Films
DistributorHBO Films
Budget$12 million[1]
Release
Original networkHBO
Original release
  • April 18, 2009 (2009-04-18)

Grey Gardens is a 2009 American biographical drama television film about the lives of Edith Bouvier Beale/"Little Edie", played by Drew Barrymore, and her mother Edith Ewing Bouvier/"Big Edie", played by Jessica Lange. Co-stars include Jeanne Tripplehorn as Jacqueline Kennedy (Little Edie's cousin) and Ken Howard as Phelan Beale (Little Edie's father). The film, directed by Michael Sucsy and co-written by Sucsy and Patricia Rozema, flashes back and forth between various events and dates ranging from Little Edie as a young débutante in 1936 moving with her mother to their Grey Gardens estate through the filming and premiere of the actual 1975 documentary Grey Gardens.

Filming for the film began on October 22, 2007, in the Hamptons.[2] It premiered on HBO on April 18, 2009.

The film was nominated for 17 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning six including Outstanding Made for Television Movie, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie (for Lange) and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie (for Howard). It was also nominated for three Golden Globe Awards, winning two for Best Miniseries or Made for Television Movie and Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film (for Barrymore). It was also nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie, winning one (for Barrymore). The film also won the 2009 Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials.

Plot

The film is based on the life stories of the eccentric paternal aunt and first cousin of Jackie Kennedy, both named Edith Bouvier Beale. The elder Edith Bouvier Beale was the sister of Jackie Kennedy's father John Vernou Bouvier III and was referred to as "Big Edie", her daughter was referred to as "Little Edie". The Beale women were members of NYC high society, but in their later years, withdrew from the New York City life, taking shelter at their Long Island summer home/estate Grey Gardens. The house eventually fell into a state of disrepair that gave the Beale women notoriety.

Phelan Beale (husband of "Big Edie" and father of "Little Edie"), eventually divorced "Big Edie." In the movie, "Little Edie" decides to move to New York to pursue a career in acting (as well as an ill-fated romance with high-profile married man, Julius 'Cap' Krug). Her father frankly tells her that she has to find a husband to support her lifestyle. "Little Edie" sadly and slowly realizes her fate is to remain her mother's companion at Grey Gardens. The two women become reclusive and known around town as the highly eccentric proprietors of Grey Gardens, which has become decrepit and full of stray animals taken in by the Beale women. The plot includes the filming of the documentary Grey Gardens by Albert and David Maysles as well as flashback events in the Beales' past, including their arrival at the estate, the disintegration of Big Edie's marriage, and Little Edie's failed attempts to have her own life and find independence.

After Phelan Beale dies, the two sons tell their mother, Big Edie, that there is little money and she should sell the estate and move to Florida. The house was in her name and this was her home. She was going nowhere. Grey Gardens became a health hazard, overrun with cats and also infested with raccoons. Health officials condemned the home and newspaper articles ran blaming Jackie Kennedy. Jackie goes to the home in a chauffeur-driven limousine for a visit. Jackie and her sister, Lee, pay for the cleanup and restoration of the Hamptons home. Mom and daughter grow old together. The documentary is finished and Little Edie attends the premiere, wearing a surprise gift from her mother.

The movie ends with Little Edie singing "Tea for Two" at the Reno Sweeney cabaret in Greenwich Village, and the quote, "My mother gave me a truly priceless life."

Cast

Production

Michael Sucsy said that he used primary sources to flesh out the story including letters and journals kept by Little Edie. He also interviewed family members and friends including Lois Wright who lived in the house and wrote her own book about the events.[3] Albert Maysles is credited as a source in the movie. Sucsy said that the house facade as well as the interior were created from blueprints. Sucsy said that an aerial shot of the house circa 1936 was historically accurate on the placement of the house in relation to other mansions in East Hampton at the time (although requiring CGI enhancements to create the illusion).[4] As with many movies based on historical events, some events in the Beales' lives, such as the timing of Big Edie and Phelan's divorce, were shifted to make a more coherent story.

The entire film was shot in Ontario, with most of the shots in metropolitan Toronto. The Valley Halla Estate in Rouge Park was the setting of exterior shots of Grey Gardens. Waterfront shots were on Centre Island in the Toronto Islands. Hotel shots were at the Fairmont Royal York. Studio work was done at Toronto Film Studios.[5]

The aerial shot of The Pierre was licensed from An Affair to Remember.[4]

Post-production was done in New York and Los Angeles. The DVD commentary was done in the same studio where the Maysles mixed the original documentary.[4]

Reception

Critical response

The movie has been lauded by many critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 100% out of 10 professional critics gave the film a positive review.[6] Ben Lyons from At the Movies raved: "Drew Barrymore is fantastic in this film." Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers also raved: "The script hits a few bumps, but Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore are magnificent as the bizarro Beales. Barrymore is a revelation. Aging into her 60s and transformed in voice and bearing, she finds Edie's unquenchable spirit. Brava."

Awards and nominations

Award Category Nominee(s) Result
American Cinema Editors Awards Best Edited Miniseries or Motion Picture for Television Alan Heim and Lee Percy Won
Art Directors Guild Awards Excellence in Production Design for a Television Movie or Miniseries Kalina Ivanov Won
Casting Society of America Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Miniseries Ellen Parks and Robin D. Cook Won
Cinema Audio Society Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Movies and Miniseries Henry Embry and Rick Ash Won
Costume Designers Guild Awards Outstanding Costume Design Made for Television Movie or Miniseries Catherine Marie Thomas Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Picture Made for Television Grey Gardens Won
Directors Guild of America Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television or Miniseries Michael Sucsy Nominated
Dorian Awards TV Drama of the Year Grey Gardens Won
Campy Flick of the Year Nominated
TV Performance of the Year: Drama Drew Barrymore Won
Gold Derby Awards TV Movie or Miniseries Grey Gardens Won
TV Movie/Mini Actress Drew Barrymore Won
Jessica Lange Nominated
TV Movie of the Decade Grey Gardens 3rd Place
TV Movie/Mini Actress of the Decade Drew Barrymore Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Miniseries or Television Film Grey Gardens Won
Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Drew Barrymore Won
Jessica Lange Nominated
Gracie Awards Outstanding Female Actor in a Leading Lead in a Drama Special Drew Barrymore Won
PEN Center USA West Literary Awards Best Screenplay Michael Sucsy and Patricia Rozema Nominated
Online Film & Television Association Best Motion Picture Grey Gardens Won
Best Actress in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Drew Barrymore Won
Jessica Lange Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Ken Howard Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Jeanne Tripplehorn Nominated
Best Direction of a Motion Picture or Miniseries Michael Sucsy Won
Best Writing of a Motion Picture or Miniseries Michael Sucsy and Patricia Rozema Won
Best Ensemble in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Best Costume Design in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Won
Best Editing in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Best Lighting in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Won
Best Makeup/Hairstyling in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Won
Best Music in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Won
Best Production Design in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Won
Best Sound in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Made for Television Movie Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Rachael Horovitz, Michael Sucsy and David Coatsworth Won
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Drew Barrymore Nominated
Jessica Lange Won
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Ken Howard Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Jeanne Tripplehorn Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special Michael Sucsy Nominated
Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special Michael Sucsy and Patricia Rozema Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie Kalina Ivanov, Brandt Gordon and Norma Jean Sanders Won[a]
Outstanding Casting for a Miniseries, Movie or Special Ellen Parks and Robin D. Cook Nominated
Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie Mike Eley Nominated
Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or Special Catherine Marie Thomas and Mickey Carleton Nominated
Outstanding Hairstyling for a Miniseries or Movie Jenny Arbour and Nancy E. Warren Won
Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries or Movie (Non-Prosthetic) Linda Dowds, Susan Hayward and Vivian Baker Nominated
Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or Special Vivian Baker, Linda Dowds, Bill Corso and Sean Sansom Won
Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or Special (Original Dramatic Score) Rachel Portman Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or Movie Alan Heim and Lee Percy Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Miniseries or Movie Henry Embry and Rick Ash Nominated
Prism Awards TV Movie or Miniseries Grey Gardens Nominated
Performance in a TV Movie or Miniseries Drew Barrymore Nominated
Jessica Lange Nominated
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Rachael Horovitz, Michael Sucsy and David Coatsworth Won
Satellite Awards Best Motion Picture Made for Television Grey Gardens Won
Best Actress – Miniseries or TV Film Drew Barrymore Won
Jessica Lange Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie Drew Barrymore Won
Jessica Lange Nominated
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Grey Gardens Won
Women Film Critics Circle Awards Best Theatrically Unreleased Movie by or About Women Won
Women's Image Network Awards Outstanding Miniseries or Made for Television Movie Won
Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Made for Television Movie Jessica Lange Nominated
Writers Guild of America Awards Long Form – Original Michael Sucsy and Patricia Rozema Nominated

Soundtrack

Grey Gardens: Music composed by Rachel Portman
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
Released
  • May 5, 2009 (2009-05-05) (US)
  • June 2, 2009 (2009-06-02) (Overseas)
Label
ProducerStewart Lerman

The Academy Award-winning composer Rachel Portman provided the film score. In addition to Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, the album includes vocal performances by the movie's lead actresses, Jessica Lange (on "We Belong Together" and "I Won't Dance" sung with Malcolm Gets) and Drew Barrymore (on "Tea for Two").

Track list

No.TitleFeatured artistLength
1."Virginia Military Institute Song"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:00
2."Little Edie on Chair"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra2:45
3."Love Is Divine"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:21
4."Edie Come Home"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra2:23
5."Cements the Deal"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:14
6."Nobody Stuck Anybody Anywhere"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra2:14
7."Wedding Jewels"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra3:26
8."I Might Have"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:23
9."Extraordinary Determination"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:11
10."Your Father's Died"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra0:57
11."Feet First"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra2:52
12."Invite You In for Tea"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra2:45
13."She Was Gorgeous"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:40
14."We Belong Together"Jessica Lange & Malcolm Gets1:08
15."I Won't Dance"Jessica Lange & Malcolm Gets1:14
16."We Belong Together"Jessica Lange1:41
17."Young Edie in NYC"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra0:38
18."Raid"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:57
19."This Will Be Better"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra2:30
20."All the Luck in the World"/"Love Is Divine"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra2:11
21."Trust Has Run Out"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra1:13
22."Long Leash"Prague Philharmonic Orchestra0:54
23."Tea for Two"Drew Barrymore1:29
Total length:39:36

Additional credits

  • Jeff Atmajian – orchestrator
  • Stephanie Diaz-Matos – music supervisor
  • Chris Dibble – scoring mixer
  • Jim Dunbar – music supervisor
  • James Fitzpatrick – orchestra contractor (Tadlow Music)
  • Bob Garrett – singing coach (Lange & Barrymore)
  • Simon Haram – musician (soprano sax)
  • Jan Holzner – assistant scoring engineer
  • Alex Hustoles – musician (clarinet)
  • Evyen J. Klean – music consultant
  • Jaromir Klepac – musician: piano
  • Stewart Lerman – music mixer, music producer (on-screen songs)
  • Petr Matejak – concert master
  • Yann McCullough – auricle operator
  • Randall Poster – music supervisor
  • Jennifer Reeve – music coordinator
  • George Seara – recordist (on-screen songs)
  • Jiri Simunek – music preparation
  • David Snell – conductor
  • Erich Stratmann – music editor
  • Stanja Vomockava – music translator
  • Chris Cozens – auricle control systems (uncredited)
  • Philip Tallman – music editor (uncredited)
  • Youki Yamamoto – music associate (uncredited)

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Tied with James Merifield, Paul Ghirardani and Deborah Wilson for Little Dorrit.

References

  1. ^ "Grey Gardens (2009) > Details > Box Office". IMDb. Retrieved 2012-08-31.
  2. ^ Felming, Michael (2006-02-21). "Thesps tend to 'Gardens'". Variety.
  3. ^ Lois Wright, My Life at Grey Gardens
  4. ^ a b c Grey Gardens DVD – 2009 – HBO – Audio commentary with executive producers Michael Sucsy, Lucy Barzun Donnelly and Rachael Horovitz
  5. ^ "Grey Gardens (TV Movie 2009)" – via www.imdb.com.
  6. ^ Grey Gardens. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 5 July 2012.