This reviewer disagrees with my recommendation on seeing the documentary first, and makes a very interesting point...
By Sparkie, on April 16, 2009
One thing that I found interesting, in thinking about it this morning, was that the screening took place in an old Cadillac dealership that had been converted into a multiplex. The lobby includes many of the original details of a swanky 20's-30's-40's expensive car showroom: fabulous Mission tile work and a grand dark wood staircase that went up to the second floor. I took this all in while we waited in line for the movie. In retrospect it reminded me of Grey Gardens, both the house and the documentary, and it's interesting new incarnation.
As an early appreciator of the original Grey Gardens, I was a bit apprehensive about this treatment. I came away thinking it was very well done. Both actresses did a very good job. I give Jessica the edge in that competition, but Drew was not as bad as I feared she might be. They both made me think of the Edies in different ways than I had previously. I think both will get Emmy nominations. I'll definitely watch it again on Saturday.
The jewelry, costumes, and set design were great. Grey Gardens, the house, comes off as almost an equal character to the ladies.
There was much less re-enactment of bits of the documentary than I would of thought. What was there was mostly good. It left much more time for the story unseen in the documentary, which I found more interesting and intimate than how that was handled in the Broadway musical.
I think I may disagree with you on whether to see the documentary first if you've never seen it. Sure, that would be ideal, but I think for a certain kind of person, this could be a kind of "Grey Gardens Lite" that would lead them to see the original footage where they might not have gone otherwise.
Finally, a SPOILER ALERT: No Jerry! Yes corn; but no Jerry!