Monday, May 7, 2012

Grey Gardens

In 1975 two cousins, mother and daughter, of Jackie Kennedy were facing eviction from their East Hampton mansion when they were found living among filth, raccoons, and God knows what else until their famous former first lady relation saved them from removal. Already having been "discovered" by the Maysles brothers and documented in their film of the same name, "Grey Gardens" charts their course from New York social debutantes of the 1930s to their current state of squalor. "Grey Gardens" is an excellent, so strange it has to be true story, centering on the strong, eccentric performances of its leading lady. As the controlling and confused matron, Jessica Lange is her usual amazing self and the greatest surprise, it gives me pleasure to say, is Drew Barrymore, turning in an alternately goofy and touching portrayal as the daughter. I had long ago written off Mrs. Barrymore as untalented and irritating, but after watching her incredible turn in this film, I'm starting to believe that she has just been misused. Also providing excellent though brief work here is Jeanne Tripplehorn as a sullen Jackie Kennedy. "Grey Gardens" finds moments of comedy, tragedy, and humanity amidst a bizarre true-to-life story.