Manuel Betancourt

Grey Gardens or How Barrymore + Lange = Great TV

April 16, 2009 · in TV

Grey Gardens
Written by: Michael Sucsy & Patricia Rozema
Directed by: Michael Sucsy
Starring: Jessica Lange, Drew Barrymore, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Daniel Baldwin, Ken Howard & Malcom Gets.
Grey Gardens, a TV Drama produced by HBO based on the lives of Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale (relatives of Jackie O) is an amazing journey – a “riches to rags” story like no other, filled with humour, singing, dancing and top notch production (the transformation of the eponymous house from 1930s splendor to drab 1970s squalor is mesmerizing). And that doesn’t even begin to describe the acting talent that its two protagonists showcase here. Now, to say that Ms Lange is a wonder is no surprise: her crazy cheekbones and commanding voice and presence suit Big Edie well (both early on as wealthy bohemian matron and later as recluse commanding mother) but the surprise (obviously) comes from realizing that the Barrymore name comes not in vain with Ms Drew who (and what a biopic cliche!) ‘becomes’ Little Edie – a character which could have easily become a caricature had Barrymore not tinged her quieter moments (and her louder ones as well) with a vulnerability and tenderness that humanizes her portrayal. This is such a luscious production (the music! the art direction! the costumes!) that dazzles without losing the heart and soul of the two characters at the center of the drama. A+