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Grey Gardens

Director:  David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer & Susan Froemke
Year Released:  1975
Rating:  1.5

If the prospect of the Egg Lady from Pink Flamingos getting together with Gloria Swanson's character in Sunset Blvd. in a filthy house and engaging in unending, meaningless babble-sessions appeals to you, this picture is right up your alley. For me, it is eerily reminiscent of spending (thankfully) brief periods of time visiting my mother's uncle in the Alzheimer's Ward in my home town's nursing home and listening to him recite his tales of life in the 1940's and so forth, unaware of his surroundings and our presence. Since the Maysles' don't bother explaining who the people Edith Peale and Little Edie are talking about most of the time - they could hardly care about details like that (are they talking about the Glenn Gould?) - it remains a Watersesque freak show, focusing on the obvious irony of two impossibly rich women living in self-imposed squalor, both victims of mental illnesses too varied to begin to contemplate. There is something to applaud, however: Little Edie's outré fashion sense can be considered a precursor to modern trash chic and has given Todd Oldham something to be inspired by.

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