Mother wanted me to come out in a kimono….

This is apparently the weekend to start catching up on the award-nominated movies of 2009. Yesterday being one of those grey, wet/freezing, ugly winter days, we hunkered down and had a little marathon.

Grey Gardens


Grey Gardens (the documentary)

Fantastic Mr. Fox

That’s a lot of movie watching for one day. That’s a lot of black-sheep, wealthy recluse experience. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Up was a sweet movie and very fun, like so many of those Pixar movies. The cast was terrific (not surprising) and characters were a blast. Loved the dog collars that converted the dogs’ thoughts into words. “I was hiding under your porch because I love you.” And, of course, those bastards got me when….well, perhaps I shouldn’t say it, since someone may not have read it. But…oh, they got me!

Fantastic Mr. Fox was the last movie of the evening, and wasn’t the best way to end. It was fine. It should’ve been title Fine Mr. Fox. It was fun, but as for animated films, it was no Up.

But really the day belonged to the fascinating, absurd, odd, unusual life of the Beales in both the 2009 HBO film Grey Gardens and the 1975 documentary upon which it’s based. If you haven’t seen either one, watch the film with Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange first. Not that seeing the documentary would ruin the film in anyway, but after seeing the movie I was so much more interested in seeing the documentary. These two women were fascinating, bordering between simply eccentric and completely insane…generally floating in the world of mentally unhealthy.

At first I was thinking that this was a slightly dramatized version of their lives, with a bit of heightened theatricality in the personalities or in the way they lived. They would say things that I don’t think people really say, or behave in ways that I don’t think people actually do.

Then I saw the documentary. Turns out they do.

“Mother wanted me to come out in a kimono, so we had quite a fight.”

Drew Barrymore has received a lot of praise for her work in this movie and it’s all deserved. She does an incredible job—and so different than anything else she’s ever done. Both she and Jessica Lange have incredibly textured, detailed performances. The work on the movie is wonderful, and beautifully directed and shot. The juxtaposed timelines work really well, and the change over time in the mansion itself is unbelievable. It’s a great movie.

Fascinating. Just fascinating.

And the fact that it’s all real…..? I love that.

There’s nothing more interesting than real life.


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