The riches-to-rags story of an eccentric mother and daughter—relatives of Jackie O, no less—who gained fame for their destitute existence in a 1975 documentary gets another retelling in HBO's Grey Gardens. Critics aren't overly excited:
- The movie "fills in bittersweet blanks” left by the original documentary, writes Joy Press in Salon, forcing fans “into a trade-off: Our curiosity is sated, but we lose some of the most haunting shades of gray."
- The director and co-writer understands the characters’ “plight, and he's unflinching about exploiting it. But it's hard to say he exposes the heart of his characters,” writes Randee Dawn in the Hollywood Reporter.
- Jessia Lange “is flat-out extraordinary,” but “I never forgot I was watching" Drew Barrymore "trying hard,” writes Matthew Gilbert in the Boston Globe.
- This sad story didn’t need another telling, says David Hinckley in the New York Daily News. “There just isn't much left to see.”