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Entries in Jackie O (2)

Thursday
Feb232017

JACKIE O. WHAT A MOVIE!

It's not often that a major motion picture is created about a major fashion icon.   Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was a determined women.  She would help shape the image of America for much of the world during her husband's presidency.  John F. Kennedy would give the world a vision of an image of an open America, a modern, vibrant, sophisticated America.   The first Catholic president elected in America, John Kennedy was far from a perfect man, but he gave us the best example of a flawed man, being a strong leader.   His assassination in Dallas would shock the world and send America into an emotional depression that took years to heal. NATALIE PORTMAN AS JACKIE O. - click image to watch an additional trailer

Jackie Kennedy would become a style icon through her personal style, attention to detail, and her attention to improving our image at home and abroad.  Jackie was convinced that making the White House a spectacular showcase was an important project to throw herself into.   She was criticized for what was sometimes seen as foolish pursuits of lavish "things".   In the film, Natalie Portman does a wonderful job to capture the persona of Jackie.  Her poised speech.  Her awareness to critics that were waiting to pounce on anything she might say.   Portman easily shows us Jackie's physical beauty, and the stylists and cinematographer behind Jackie really gave us that pristine reality that the world was intoxicated by during the Kennedy years in the White House, despite how brief that time of "Camelot" was.  

See Jackie for the story.  The film focuses on Jackie Kennedy's battle to make sure her husbands legacy would not be forgotten. JACQUELINE KENNEDY - THE 35th FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES  She knew that ceremonies are remembered, and leave indelible marks in the mind of people.   She knew that things outlive people, and that monuments are forever.    

If you love fashion, the movie delivers.   Jackie Kennedy embodied the WASP aesthetic taken to its most sophisticated embodiment.  Portman is nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance in a Leading role.  It is well deserved.  Director Pablo Larrain delivers.   See it.

Friday
Sep112009

GREY GARDENS - HBO CHARMS BEALE LEGEND 

The Mother and Daughter duo known as "Big" and "Little" Edie Beale have had a cult following for 30 years as the eccentric cousins of Jackie O.   The true story of the Beales shocked the world in the mid 70's.  Their riches-to-rags life was put under a microscope via the documentary "Grey Gardens", made by another family duo - brothers Albert and David Maysles.

As with so many things in life, the unlikely story of "Big" and "Little" Edie Beale made it to film by chance.   The Maysles were working on a project with Lee Bouvier  who had contacted the brothers to film a documentary of she and her sister Jacqueline Bouvier.    The two debutantes charmed the society world and celebrity social circles as they made a name for themselves traveling the globe and being in the right place at the right time.    The Bouvier girls were like a high class version of the Hilton sisters.   Chic, Charming, and connected - the two plotted and planned and brought to fruition - a very full life that many envied from afar.   Of course, Jackie  would later become first Lady and one of the greatest style icons in the world.DREW BARRYMORE AS "LITTLE" EDIE BEALE

During their heyday of youth Lee had the idea to make a film about the Bouvier childhood and upbringing.   Part of the film would include a mention of their eccentric Aunt, Edith Bouvier Beale who had recently been exposed in a scandal by the tabloids.   At one time Edith "Big Edie" Beale was the Doyen of East Hampton Society and her Mansion- Grey Gardens was a center of social outings and was a symbol of the Gentry setting of the privileged East End Lifestyle.  

Once the Maysle brothers met big and little Edie, Jackie and Lee were out - and the documentary Grey Gardens took shape.  The sight of the women living in squalor in a dilapidated 28 room mansion with no running water and overrun with vermin was hypnotic.

The new movie version of the story by HBO stars Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange as "Little" and "Big" Edie - respectively.   The film is a love note to the Beales.  The cinematography is stunning as we flashback to East Hampton in the 30's.   Drew Barrymore captures the beauty and zest for life this young debutante possessed.   Easily the strongest performance of her career, Barrymore gives an uncanny performance as "Little" Edie as she struggles drawing the line between the past and the present.

"LITTLE" EDIE BEALEJessica Lange is also magnificent as "Big" Edie.   If you close your eyes, at times you would think you were listening to the original documentary.   The film has the added benefit of those beautiful flashback scenes that you can only imagine when watching the original documentary.
The story has long been a source of inspiration for designers, singers, and artists for years.   Marc Jacobs and John Bartlett both created fashion collections inspired by the Beales (JB was first).  Rufus Wainwright wrote a beautiful song titled "Grey Gardens" that really captures the sense of melancholy felt watching the documentary. DREW BARRYMORE & JESSICA LANGE AS THE BEALES

Why so many people are drawn to the story - who can say for sure?   At the core, we are watching a love story of a mother and daughter who have such a bond that they shut out the world when it lets them down.  Clearly, the voyeuristic thrill of watching a train wreck is also in play when watching the documentary.   Seeing racoons and cats living amongst two one time debutantes as they themselves eat cat food with a fork is something you just don't see everyday.  

Click below to watch footage from the original documentary, featuring a song by "Big" Edie Beale.

I think that "little" Edie also touches the hearts of so many of us that grew up in a small town and dreamt of something more.   We feel her sense of sadness and anxiety as it is so clear life has not gone the way she planned. 

Also, anyone watching the film who has parents that are senior citizens can't help but think of their own family, and how to handle our own loved ones as they make difficult life choices as they age.

I had the unique opportunity to watch this film on two international flights - two weeks apart.   I watched the movie on both flights and in my little seat with noise cancelling headphones I would watch and doze off and wake up over and over.  The effect somehow made the movie seem like a dream to me.  

The film is beautifully shot, I'm guessing that everyone who watches will think of this film as a dream.  A dream directed by Michael Sucsy.

Watch the HBO film trailer below.  The film was released in April - but continues to air on HBO.   You can also purchase the DVD - which is a great addition to any collection.   Click Amazon to purchase the DVD.