Grey Gardens (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Grey Gardens2009

Grey Gardens (2009)



Critic Consensus: Grey Gardens offers few new revelations about the eccentric Edie's, but is elevated thanks to powerhouse performances from Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

Grey Gardens Photos

Movie Info

Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange headline this fact-based drama centered on the two eccentric relatives of Jackie Kennedy-Onassis who served as the subject of David and Albert Maysles' similarly-titled 1975 documentary. Directed, produced, and co-written (along with Patricia Rozema) by Michael Sucsy, Grey Gardens tells the story of Big Edie (Lange) and Little Edie (Barrymore), the aunt and cousin of Kennedy-Onassis respectively. The reclusive socialites made headlines across the country when the health department threatened to raid their sprawling, flea-and-raccoon-infested twenty-eight room East Hampton, NY mansion in the early-1970s, prompting Kennedy-Onassis herself to intervene in an attempt to save the family name. Jane Tripplehorn stars as former first lady Kennedy-Onassis in a film also featuring Daniel Baldwin, Ken Howard, Malcolm Gets, and Ayre Gross.

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Drew Barrymore
as Little Edie
Jessica Lange
as Big Edie
Jeanne Tripplehorn
as Jackie Kennedy-Onassis
Ken Howard
as Phelan Beale Sr.
Daniel Baldwin
as Julius 'Cap' Krug
Malcolm Gets
as George 'Gould' Strong
Ayre Gross
as Albert Maysles
Arye Gross
as Albert Maysles
Justin Louis
as David Maysles
Joshua Peace
as Adult Buddy
Ben Carlson
as Adult Phelan Jr.
Timm Zemanek
as Inspector
Perry Mucci
as Young Photographer
Lorna Wilson
as Molly the Maid
Evan Williams
as Young Banker
Neil Girvan
as Concierge
Louis Grise
as Young Buddy
Neil Babcock
as Young Phelan Jr.
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Critic Reviews for Grey Gardens

All Critics (31) | Top Critics (17)

Ms. Lange and Ms. Barrymore easily play eccentric beauties, but they are even better in the more complicated roles of crazy cat ladies.

July 24, 2018 | Full Review…

The Edies were two women with a half-ounce of talent and a full measure of stubbornness, and they're played beautifully in both old and young states by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, who give fearless performances of intriguing luminescence.

July 24, 2018 | Full Review…

In the right hands, there's a nobility in unfettered eccentricity.

July 24, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

How strange, though, and how marvelous, to discover that a documentary camera is not always a reliable recorder, that it takes more than that to show us people in the fullness of life.

July 24, 2018 | Full Review…

No matter how many times we revisit the story and peek in the windows, there really isn't much we can do except shake our heads and acknowledge that some people either don't get very good cards or don't play them very well.

July 24, 2018 | Full Review…

Lange is flat-out extraordinary as she reveals the extent of Big Edie's big narcissism without demonizing her.

July 24, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Grey Gardens


There is nothing really new here for those who have already seen the documentary (and the happy ending feels just off); even so, this is a solid dramatization elevated by two remarkable performances (especially Lange, who seems to be actually channeling Big Edie's ghost).

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Two women live in a secluded Hamptons estate called Grey Gardens, which becomes the center for posh parties, decay, and ultimately, an odd mixture of co-dependency and love. The performances by the two leads, Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, are extraordinary. Each adopts some weird Boston/New York/is-that-Southern-intellectual hybrid accent that is so unique that it has to be an exact imitation of the real people, and each embodies her respective character's pain and triumph, communicating lifetimes of disappointment and will in a single pained smile. I've never taken Barrymore seriously as an actress before this film; shame on me. The film highlights these performances, but its pacing is off, slowing down in the middle and wandering away from the narrative threads the strong first act built. How exactly does the house and their lives fall into such disrepair, and how can they remain so blissfully ignorant? I'm not sure the film has an answer to these questions, but to leave the space between these points A and B is to deny the audience and the characters the narrative continuity they deserve. Overall, though the film has some structural problems, the leads' performances are strong enough to make up for any flaws.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Heartbreaking true story of Big Edie (mother) and Little Edie (daughter), the relations of Jackie Kennedy Onassis (I was surprised!), from the 1975 documentary. Oddly enough some of the best scenes in the film are in the early years. Drew Barrymore was absolutely magnificent as "Little" Edie, and Jessica Lange was amazing as "Big" Edie. The passive-aggressive attitude displayed made for some super entertainment. The co-dependency made for some outstanding drama. They were an endearing couple. The direction and filming was great as well and sets the perfect mood and atmosphere for the time periods and brings so much layers to the film and is period piece done right. Overall the film is bittersweet to me, the ending was somewhat satisfying and in the end they were both at peace with their lives but it's just a very gloomy and sad movie that makes you think what could of been with their lives but it's an amazing story.

Dean McKenna
Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

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