"When Andy met Edie, life imitated art."
I'm just a movie buff and also a fan of most of the actors in this movie so I followed the filming from the beginning with interest, along with all the news stories and criticisms and controversy. One of the first things I did after hearing about the film was to do my own research to find out more about Edith Minturn Sedgwick. I found her fascinating but I also found she still had a following of fiercely devoted fans. That a movie was going to explore the life of a still beloved icon, was bound to bring controversy. In the eyes of fans, no movie could ever live up to the legend.
What the movie does is provoke questions and interest and a desire to know more about the real Edie and people should do their own research.
I would hope in this day and age no one would take for granted that everything they see on screen even in a biopic is to be taken too literally. There is always dramatic license taken in movies. Instead, what we have in Factory Girl is an artistic rendering, an overall view of someone's life, though much of the material used was carefully researched and taken from interviews with people who knew Edie well.
The plot device used to move the story along involves a conflict between Andy and "the musician" with Edie being torn between two loves. Andy, representing all the superficiality and shallowness of fame and fortune and "the musician" representing the anti-establishment generation seeking enlightenment and simplicity in a material world.
Sienna Miller is perfection as the the Cambridge student who leaves for New York, already fragile and damaged but still enthusiastic and hopeful. The re-edited Director's cut gives more of a glimpse into Edie's childhood and family life early on, giving plenty of reason for her decline as the story progresses. Sienna's resemblance to Edie is remarkable and her portrayal is her break through performance. You can't watch Sienna in Factory Girl without realizing a star is born and one who is truly talented and gifted.
Guy Pearce, whose performance was already extraordinary, benefits from additional minutes on film in the Director's cut, giving us a clearer picture of the artist's inability to show feelings or emotions and resigning himself to being detached yet mourning Edie privately. Two scenes in the movie, one with Edie invited to have dinner with Andy and his mother and the other with Andy and Edie having dinner with her parents, wonderfully juxtoposes the two character's differing family backgrounds and gives insight into their relationship.
Hayden Christensen already has this rock star thing going on, according to Sienna Miller in the Behind the Scenes video on the DVD. Hayden's performance is brief but memorable with no trace of Darth Vader or Anakin Skywalker. There is just something charismatic about Hayden's performance as "the musician", cast against type, with all the cool and charm of any rock star who has ever picked up a guitar. One has to wonder what wonderful bits and pieces of his performance ended up on the cutting room floor because of the legal problems that were reported in having a clearly Dylan-like character as part of the story.
George Hickenlooper's director's cut makes for a more smoothly flowing story than the theatrical version and the added minutes of film complete the characters and give more depth to the 60's era. The mixed media filming style makes more sense in the 60's themed context, bringing back memories of some of the more gritty "slice of life" movies of that era. I'm always amazed when viewing a director's cut what the addition of eight, five or even three minutes can add to the quality of a movie. I just wish this wasn't always the afterthought with the execs who make those decisions so theater goers could have a better viewing experience.
Life flies by when you're having fun or high on heroin or speed.
Days quickly turn to weeks and months pass, turning overnight into years as happens with any addiction. Towards the end of the movie and in the ending credits, it's only then we see Edie fight back against Andy and the superficiality of the Factory but tragically loses her battle with herself. She leaves New York and turns her back on The Factory and Andy. Edie never found herself in the identity crisis era of 1960's and 70's. In the closing credits, you hear about the real Edie from people who knew her and you wish with all your heart that Edie was still around and hadn't wasted away in the illusion of Audrey Hepburn and the Warhol factory. Still hauntingly beautiful today in countless photos and memories committed to film, the face, the aura, the superstar quality of Edie Sedgwick lingers and fascinates today as a ghost, a vision and an enigma.
July 25, 2007
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Factory Girl - The DVD is the uncut and unrated director's cut. The theatrical release was rated R for pervasive drug use, strong sexual content, nudity and language.
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