Saturday, 22 February 2014

Grey Gardens...

I heartily recommend this film. It's about the reclusive Miss Edith Bouvier Beale and her mother "Big Edie" who lived on the dilapidated Grey Gardens estate in East Hampton. The two women accentuate many qualities in human relationships that are less noticeable among most "normal" people, mutual dependence, love and and conviction. What I find most exquisite about this film is the sheer lack of class arrogance. Here are two women who are, despite their strong New England accents and the squalor in which they live, just aglow with kindness and they're not jealous either. As Big Edie says: "I had everything I ever wanted."

Opinion is divided about the propriety of this film and to what extent the Maysles invaded the Beales' privacy but I can't help but admire it. It reminds me of what Tolkien said about the love of the Elves for creation, that "sorrow and wisdom have enriched it," and I think that one could well apply this principle to this film and to our own time. If knowledge can dispel prejudice, then knowledge of the Beales can dispel prejudice about eccentrics.

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