This documentary was one of the first cinéma vérité films (which, for those not fortunate enough to have French as their official second language, translates as "truthful cinema"). Albert and David Maysles captured the Beales (dubbed Big Edith and Little Edith) in a way that we would quite plainly describe as being entirely authentic. Watching the Beales' interactions and idiosyncracies is almost akin to voyeruism, their cameras-be-damned demeanours effortlessly conveyed through the filmmakers' talents. There is no satisfying way to describe the lives that these women lead together in the crumbling Grey Gardens estate; opinions and impressions can only be left up to the viewer.
[What is perhaps the most distressing and depressing offshoot of an otherwise fascinating documentary is that Hollywood, unsurprisingly, decided to remake it with the well-meaning but talentless Drew Barrymore as Little Edith. It is, quite simply, appalling how a documentary as unique as this one has been unnecessarily turned into a TV movie, stripping the original work of its innocence and wonder. It would have perhaps been better interpreted as a play.
added by: katinaschell