Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Fantastic Walk Through Grey Gardens

Filed under: Movie and Entertainment,Politics — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 02:47

Saturday saw the premiere of HBO Films Grey Gardens, which detailed the story of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ estranged aunts who turned their backs on being part of the socially elite to live a life in solitude and squalor in a decrepit and decaying mansion in East Hampton throughout most of the 20th Century. The film is a fantastic exemplary of just why HBO continues to show its dominance as the premier subscription cable channel and also highlights the amazing talents of its stars Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore.

Grey Gardens shows how a mother’s influence can have profound and lifelong effects on her daughter and just how powerful issues like self-esteem and self concept can create massive psychopathology among individuals who are intrinsically connected by a stringent codependency unlike any other. The movie intertwines the filming of a documentary about the pair (which really occurred in the early 1970’s) and what unfolds earlier in their lives which ultimately leads to a life that most would look upon in disdain. As I was watching Grey Gardens, I continually found myself in greater and greater disbelief. I judged these individuals’ lives in-terms of missed major life milestones and ultimately concluded their lives were perhaps vain and with very little importance and meaning.

But in the end, we are left knowing that despite the conclusions made about this mother and daughter, nothing is quite as it seems in-terms of their existence and undying love for each other. Each of these women lived for the other. While certainly mental illness and psychological disorders abound and become more obvious as the story unravels, some of the conclusions I made were completely debunked by the time the credits began to roll. Grey Gardens is beautifully photographed with painstaking attention to every minute detail of the estate both at its prime and its demise. And the score couldn’t have been more appropriate and well-orchestrated in the context of the story.

If you missed Grey Gardens, you missed quite an amazing movie that looked like it belonged on the big screen rather than the small. While the story at the root of the film proves shocking, at times frustrating, and even sometimes sad, in the end, it is amazingly moving and was put in the hands of some masterful actors and filmmakers who ensured the film could’ve easily played in megaplexes in wide-release rather than televisions and home-theater systems. Grey Gardens will repeat for the next several weeks on HBO. To check showtimes, visit http://www.hbo.com/films/greygardens/. A DVD release is also scheduled but dates have not been set just yet. This is a great movie and I would highly recommend seeing it so that when it takes home every golden statue from the Golden Globes and Emmys at the end of the year, you’ll be quite familiar with why it is earning its accolades. 

The full trailer for Grey Gardens, from HBO Films:

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