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Sweden: Vodeville

Criterion Collection

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Grey Gardens

In GREY GARDENS we meet Big and Little Edie Beale—mother and daughter, high-society dropouts, reclusive cousins of Jackie O.—thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion.

Director: Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer
Year: 1975
Time: 100 min

 Grey Gardens
(2009) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film. Invite your friends and relatives into the bizarre world of GREY GARDENS.

Learn more about mental illness, its causes and what scientists are learning about brain function. According to the International Mental Health Research Organization, it’s the #1 cause of adult disability worldwide.

Appreciate the individual gifts, talents, and quirks of each your family members. Nearly every family has a “black sheep”. Whether it’s a sibling, cousin, a lonely grandparent, or you yourself, consider spending time together, speaking openly and honestly with each other, and offering each other support.

Consider adopting your next pet from an animal shelter or donate to an organization that works to advance the safety and well-being of animals. Big and Little Edith both cared deeply for animals.

Related Articles and Resources

Grey Gardens still stands!

The grey-shingled house is owned by Ben Bradlee, former Washington Post executive editor, and his wife, author Sally Quinn. They purchased the 14-room manse in 1979 directly from Little Edie, who answered the door herself when Quinn came to take a look.

W Magazine talks to Sally Quinn about the afternoon she first stepped inside the house—and what led her to stay.


A set of films that explores the six academic styles of cinematic non-fiction.

A new understanding of Grey Gardens:

Read Kirsten’s review after joining a public screening and post-film discussion.

Little Edie Rebutting Critical Review

The New York Times refused to publish Little Edie’s brilliant rebuttal to film critic Walter Goodman’s review of GREY GARDENS. But Little Edie’s letter is reproduced here.


An exploration in filmmaker Albert Maysles’ belief in direct cinema through the lens of GREY GARDENS.

Our Spotlight on Grey Gardens.

Rachel Horovitz Interveiws Albert Maysles

“A true documentary depends entirely on other forces. It’s that humanizing touch that we’re missing out on. Along with the vérité, if that’s what you want to call it, it’s what I’ve tried so hard to work into my films.”

Read the full Interview Magazine feature with GREY GARDENS co-director now.

Q&A with directors Muffie Meyer and Al Mayses

“It didn’t surprise me in a certain way that there was controversy. The bitterness and vituperousness of some of the critics was really surprising…”

– Filmmaker Muffie Meyer

The directors talk about the Beales’ response to the film versus the critics’ responses to the film, and some of the letters they received.

Watch the Q&A on Youtube.

Let It Go: Are we becoming a nation of hoarders?

Read more on The New Yorker.

Overcoming Codependency: Reclaiming Yourself in Relationships

Did the Beale’s dynamic remind you of anyone in your life? Read more about co-dependency and how to seek support.


This playlist is all about family.

To Film or Not to Film?

“How close to a subject is too close? How far is too far? These are questions that documentary filmmakers should be asking themselves when they set out to record a true story. Sometimes lines are crossed, and sometimes boundaries are set beforehand. Sometimes the filmmaker and the audience disagree on where the line is, and a divide is created between them.”

Read the full article on Indiwire now.


Explore our Grey Gardens pinterest board.


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