The Review/Short Read/

The Enduring Wisdom of Grey Gardens

"You can't have your cake and eat it, too in life."

by
Feb 4, 2016

In Grey Gardens, filmmakers Albert and David Maysles documented a queer yet captivating subject: both the dilapidated titular property — a poetic portrait of an American aristocratic family’s slide into decay — and the wonderfully strange socialites who lived there: Big and Little Edie Beale, the aunt and cousin of first lady Jackie Kennedy, whose tragicomic delusions, naked vulnerabilities, and candid perspectives on the world made them cult personalities.

Few people could make living in a raccoon-infested East Hamptons mansion look, well, good — but that’s the offbeat beauty of Grey Gardens, and it’s this kind of crumbling chaos that feeds the Edies’ words of wisdom. Here are some of my favourite quotes, which linger long after the film ends:


1. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE A WOMAN.

"I tell you if there's anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman... S-T-A-U-N-C-H. There's nothing worse, I'm telling you. They don't weaken, no matter what." -Little Edie

2. BALANCE IS IMPORTANT.

Little Edie: "You can't have your cake and eat it, too in life."

Big Edie "Oh, yes, I did. I did, I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it and had everything I wanted."

3. ALWAYS BE DISCERNING.

"I don't think there's any point in meeting anybody who doesn't like music." -Little Edie

4. ADMIT THE OBVIOUS.

"It’s very hard to live nowadays. Living is very difficult."

-Big Edie

5. CHOOSE YOUR OUTFIT WITH CARE.