• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 18, 2009
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. 100
    I will tell you that Lange and Barrymore deserve Emmys as does the production, which is so authentic you can see the real silk char meuse oozing off socialite shoulders.
  2. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    100
    People who watched the Maysleses' documentary when it came out probably found the women strange, to say the least, but may have also felt sympathy for them in the end. That's the feeling that director and co-screenwriter Michael Sucsy is going for in the HBO film, and he achieves it in spades.
  3. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    100
    The Beales' story--predictably, sadly--descends into mutual recrimination, then near madness. It's all rescued by two stunning performances.
  4. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    90
    All told, it's an impeccably rendered piece, down to the smallest details--the kind of lush, meticulous little parcel that relatively few outlets these days have the means or latitude to cultivate.
  5. The HBO film Grey Gardens shines new light on old subjects, and the result--including a fantastic performance from Drew Barrymore--is beyond entertaining.
  6. 88
    Luckily, in Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange, HBO has found precisely the right people to convey the peculiar blend of courage and craziness that were the two Edie Beales, daughter and mother.
  7. Reviewed by: Missy Schwartz
    83
    Jessica Lange brings typically impressive textures to Big Edie. And just wait till you see Drew Barrymore, as Little Edie, deliver the doc's most famous line, ''This is the best costume for today.'' She's a dead ringer for the real thing.
  8. Anchored by amazing performances by Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore, the Grey Gardens that premieres tonight is, like its subjects, a brilliant, moving, hilarious and mesmerizing mess of a movie that miraculously captures what made the Beales such iconic characters.
  9. There's art aplenty in a film that elicits emotion as it slowly draws you into a place you've certainly never been before, even if it may leave you wondering why you made the journey.
  10. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    80
    Now comes Grey Gardens, largely enjoyable in spite of being almost entirely superfluous.
  11. 80
    Grey Gardens is tragicomedy of a very rare and rarefied kind--priceless, precious and, thanks largely to Lange, potentially unforgettable.
  12. 80
    Just sit down in front of the TV and savor the spirited and daring performances of Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore as Big and Little Edie.
  13. The acting is compelling, and the costumes are sumptuous, but the staging is static, too “Masterpiece Theater” for the story at hand.
  14. 70
    It's a generally pleasing but flawed production.
  15. Reviewed by: Randee Dawn
    70
    Director/co-producer/co-writer Michael Sucsy gets their plight, and he's unflinching about exploiting it. But it's hard to say he exposes the heart of his characters; Little Edie's motivation remains a mystery.
  16. Lange disappears into Big Edie, particularly in her later years, conveying both her frustrations and her sometimes poisonous personality so successfully that you might almost forget how much makeup was required to make her look like that. But for all Barrymore's efforts to do the same with Little Edie, she's a little too obviously making an effort, succeeding best when she's channeling her character's desperation for the world's (and her mother's) approval.
  17. Reviewed by: Maria Sciullo
    70
    It must be said that viewing Grey Gardens without prior knowledge of the Beales' story would make it easier to like the HBO version....Michael Sucsy directs an HBO version that takes a little of this, a little of that, in building toward a (sort-of) happy ending that's hard to swallow.
  18. Reviewed by: Dan Callahan
    63
    Sensitive and well acted as this new Grey Gardens is, it feels like a wish-fulfillment fantasy that gives Little Edie a happy ending; the truth of this woman's life must have been much grimmer and messier.
  19. 60
    Grey Gardens is thoughtful and swank but ultimately mediocre. Two actresses in top form are required to put this story across.
  20. The original documentary may have been predatory, but it captured something powerful, the face of failed optimism, the many meanings of the word “spoiled.” Sometimes it’s better to let strange be strange.
  21. Lange is fine as the senior Edie, but Barrymore, for reasons not entirely her fault, seems off her game.

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