Grey Gardens

Synopsis: The Maysles brothers pay visits to Edith Bouvier Beale, nearing 80, and her daughter Edie. Reclusive, the pair live with cats and raccoons in Grey Gardens, a crumbling mansion in East Hampton. Edith is dry and quick-witted - a singer, married but later separated, a member of high society. Edie is voluble, dresses - as she puts it - for combat in tight ensembles that include scarves wrapped around her head. There are hints that Edie came home 24 years before to be cared for rather than to care for her mother. The women address the camera, talking over each other, moving from the present to events years before. They're odd, with flinty affection for each other.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min

[Mrs. Beale] What are you

doing down there? Just standing there?

- [David Maysles] Just filming the main room

- [Edie] Whiskers!

[Mrs. Beale] Well, did you know that

Whiskers has disappeared?

- A cat got out I'm trying to get him in

- [David] Has he? Ah

Yeah, we don't know how he got out

I think he got out in that hole there

- No, I knew they were coming, and l...

- I think he got out in that hole

- He can jump up there

- I knew they were coming and...

Yeah No, he got out

in that hole, Edie

I put them all out

You told me to

No, dearie, he got out

in the hole, babe

"Take the cats out,"you said

- Did you hear what I said, woman?

- What?

He got out in this hole here

That was the noise we heard

That raccoon did that to my new wall

Isn't that terrible?

They'll have the whole house

down soon


Yeah, we'll be raided again

We'll be raided again

by the village of East Hampton

You know, they can get you in East Hampton

for wearing red shoes on a Thursday

and all that sort of thing

I don't know whether you know that

I mean, do you know that?

They can get you

for almost anything

- [Edie] It's the Maysles!

- [Albert Maysles] Hi, Edie

- [David] The gentlemen callers

- I saw your car

- One of my cats just got out

- Edie, you look fantastic

David, you look absolutely

terrific Honestly

You've got light...

You've got light blue on

Well, Al, you're still...

Mother says you're very conservative


Brooks, everything looks wonderful

- Thank you

- Absolutely wonderful

This is the best thing

to wear for the day You understand

- Yeah

- Because I don't like women in skirts

and the best thing is to wear

pantyhose or some pants

under a short skirt, I think

Then you have the pants

under the skirt

and then you can pull the stockings

up over the pants, underneath the skirt

- Uh-huh

- And you can always take off

So I think this is the best

costume for the day

- Okay

- [Laughs]

I have to think

these things up, you know

Mother wanted me to come out

in a kimono, so we had quite a fight

So what did you do, photograph Brooks

cutting right down here?

- Yeah, I've been through the jungle

- Oh, for goodness sakes

What do you want to do now?

Where do you want to go? Upstairs?

Do you want to go up

and photograph it from the top porch?

- Okay

- Okay

They're gonna photograph

from the top now, Brooks


It's a beautiful garden back here

Did you see the wall garden?

- Oh, you mean the patio You mean this

- Yeah

That's a Spanish wall garden

over there, you know

- Oh, yes

- The Hills put that in

They imported everything from Rome

Mrs. Hill, she was

a famous horticulturist

That was one of the famous

gardens of America

Brooks, next summer,

if we're all living

I think a vegetable garden

would be a good thing in here

You don't get

enough sunlight in here

Yeah, Mother says she doesn't mind if you

have to cut down some privet for the garden

- Would be nice

- Yeah

Because food's going up

We heard that on the radio last night

Do you think my costume looked all right

for Brooks? I think he was a little amazed

- He's probably seen it before

- No, no This is the revolutionary costume

I never wear this in East Hampton

[David] He seems okay

He seems like he can handle it

[Edie] You can't be too careful

Know what I mean?

That was the original living room

You know, people go back

to a kitchen now

Though the washing machine was always

put in the maids' dining room

You know, the washtubs are

in the maids' dining room

- Let's go up

- It's very difficult

to keep the line between

the past and the present

Do you know what I mean?

It's awfully difficult

[Mrs. Beale] That is

a beautiful ocean today, isn't it?

What color would you say that was?

Sort of sapphire?

I've never seen

anything like that ocean

The 50 years I've been here...

the best in 50 years

Oh, Edie, are you around?

- Oh, Edie!

- I haven't been out of this goddamn horrible place

in two years

God, if you knew how I felt

I'm ready to kill

Well, they're not going

to take you to the beach

- Brooks wants his his check, Mother darling

- All right, give me the...

- He's at the door

- I told you I should do it now

Twenty-four bucks for three cuttings

Just a minute

I told you... Better bring the pen

I locked all the cats away

- [Cats Meowing]

- Don't be so mean They don't wanna be locked away

The poor little kitties

You know kitties adore sun

I suppose I won't get out

of here till she dies or I die

- Who's she? The cat?

- I don't know when I'm gonna get out of here

- Why do you want to get out?

Another place'd be much worse

- Any place will be much worse

- Here

- Any place on earth

- Yeah, but I like freedom

Well, you can't get it, darling

You're being supported

- You can't get any freedom

when you're being supported

- You can't?

- No, you can't

- I think you're not free when

you're not being supported

- It's awful both ways

- Well, you don't look it

You look very young

for 56 years of age

Don't you remember

what you told me...

- I'd just like a couple of days on the beach, that's all

- What was it you told me?

- Twenty-four bucks

- You don't have to scream that out

When are you gonna learn, Edie?

You're in this world, you know

You're not out of the world

[Edie Sighs]

Let's see if I can remember the date

Is it the 12th today?

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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