I recently watched the HBO film "Grey Gardens" and I've been thinking about it ever since. In 1975 there was a documentary made by the same name directed by Albert and David Maysles that became something of a cult phenomenon. The documentary and more recent film are about Edith Bouvier Beale Sr. and Edith Bouvier Beale Jr. the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and their life in their East Hampton home Grey Gardens. At the time of the documentary their home was in a state of great decline and Big and Little Edie were living in squalor almost without even being aware of how bad it was.
The documentary basically went in and observed them as they were living at the time it was filmed. They had been living in an unsanitary and shocking environment. I have yet to see it, but it is next on my list. The HBO movie spans four decades and shows the decline of "the Edies" and why/how these women of wealth and class (not to mention relatives of Jackie O) became two eccentrics living in a decaying summer home in the East Hamptons.
I highly recommend this movie. It is definitely somewhat depressing, but is very worth seeing. Jessica Lange's and Drew Barrymore's performances are extremely impressive. It is interesting to see how the decisions the Edies made and the strange bond they formed created this world that they lived in.
If you haven't seen the original documentary you should watch the the special feature on the new film called "Grey Gardens then and now". It shows parts of the documentary and compares it to parts of the film. It's amazing what a great job they did of re-creating the sets (not to mention the women). Initially it might seem like Drew Barrymore was over acting, but once you see the real "little Edie" you'll be shocked at how great of a job she did in taking on the eccentric behaviors and speaking style of the young Edith.
At times it's almost hard to believe that this could be true- that these two women could live like this and that they could fall so far/hard from grace. But that's what makes it such a fascinating movie and story. You should watch this film!