Grey Gardens – Crazy Beautiful, Not Beautiful Crazy

If you’ve never seen the 1975 documentary “Grey Gardens” and if you are curious about mental illness, closed-family environments, and circular thinking, then you might enjoy this film.  It is available on Netflix to watch instantly or on DVD.  Here are some photos of Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (aunt of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis) and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale

Roger Ebert gave the film 4 out of 4 stars.  The film is both educational and mind-bending. 

The film is both funny and frightening.  If the scenes weren’t real, the film would be terrifying, laughable, and tragic.  But the scenes are real, making the film terrifying, laughable, and tragic.  Viewers get to be a fly on the wall, observing the madness of lives lived in “the could have been.”

Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale on Wikipedia

Edith Bouvier Beale on Wikipedia

Grey Gardens on Wikipedia

Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale:

(Click on the images if you wish to view them individually or larger.)

Edith’s daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale:

Edith Bouvier Beale never married.  She suffered from a hair condition, Alopecia, possibly explaining why she wore a turbin consistently in her later years.

(Click on the images if you wish to view them individually or larger.)

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Commentary:  After watching this documentary, I thought:  If a similar documentary about the same kind of people in modern times premiered today, I have a expectation that their family, friends, and the East Hampton community would rally to their aid.  In the 1970s, Jackie Kennedy and her husband were famous for spending something like $32,000 to bring the home up to minimum standards.  The response that was expected in the 1970s appears to be that it was a “family problem” for the family to “quietly” deal with.

Maybe I’m misinterpreting modern culture, but I’m guessing if something similar were to come to light today, health professionals and the affluent community would volunteer to assist these women.  I’m guessing there would be less stigmatization about intervening and socializing with these women.  I’m guessing counselors and psychologists would be more able to both identify and address their needs.  I hope so.

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