Monday, February 20, 2012

Nude Memphis Movie Review: Factory Girl

Sienna Miller and the real Edie Sedgwick

I'll be honest, I bought "Factory Girl" because Sienna Miller is in it and I like Sienna. I had hoped quietly to myself, "maybe she gets naked in this movie. Wouldn't that be great?" But mostly I just noticed that anytime I saw Sienna Miller in a movie I liked her, or her character, or something somehow involving her. I bought it and then I sat on it for 3 years without watching it.

Last night I put it into the DVD player because I had a choice between this and "Pom Pom Girls" which is some '70s or '80s, disco-era semi-dirty movie along the lines of "Porkys." I just wasn't in the mood for that type of movie so I went with the other one.

Sienna Miller as Edie

Right from the start I knew I had chosen the right movie. It was instantly different and had my attention. This movie was well done. Everyone in it is excellent at what they do. If I hadn't known that Sienna Miller was playing the lead role, that of Edie Sedgwick, I wouldn't have had the slightest idea who the actress was, but I would have been wondering all movie long. She was mesmerizing, like a walking party all embodied in one person. It's lucky the movie was about her because if it hadn't been she would have stolen every scene she was in. But then, they say that's how the real Edie Sedgwick was.

Sienna and the real Edie

"The party doesn't even start until I arrive," she said in one famous scene. It was an important line because it was true and it was necessary that we know that she knew it, too. She was the party wherever she was, whatever she was doing, and she relied on that to get through life.

The story is initially about the odd relationship that existed in the mid-1960s between wealthy socialite Edie Sedgwick and homosexual artist Andy Warhol, who appeared to all who knew him to fall in love with this one woman for a period of time. That's one hell of a woman to turn a gay man straight enough to want her. And Edie Sedgwick was one hell of a woman.

I'm not going to summarize the whole story. It's complicated and truly has to be seen to be understood. Even after you've seen it you have to think about it. Or, if you have the DVD like I do, you watch all the extra features and listen closely to everything they say.

In some of the extra features on the DVD her brother talked about her and how she died, how he felt partially responsible, as well as how his other brothers all died and another sister hanged herself. He talked about the belief that their father had molested Edie from the time she was 8 years old and how that must have affected her. He may have molested more than just Edie, in fact, including some of his own sons. No one talked, as sex abuse victims so often don't, and they all died more or less by their own hand, so it was all uncertain as to what all had been done to whom. But the evidence was overwhelming. He talked about how their mother would put any one of them, 8 kids in all, into an insane asylum any time she didn't like their attitude or behavior and leave them there for weeks. And he talked about it with a calmness that made the horribleness of it all the worse.

They interviewed a cousin of hers, too. He was clearly gay, and he, too, talked about the sexual abuse Edie's father almost certainly inflicted upon her and other children in his family. And he spoke of it with the same calm "oh well" expression that Edie's brother had, as if "well, what can you do?"

Guy Pearce played Andy Warhol. I couldn't figure out who was playing him throughout the entire movie. He totally disappeared into the character. I've seen him in several movies and always he is 100 percent the character he is playing. Everyone in the movie was exceptional. I will say, I thought it was odd that they chose Jimmy Fallon to play Edie's closest friend, the man who betrayed her as he became sucked into Andy Warhol's dysfunctional world. They said they chose him because he is difficult to dislike, and they felt that made it all the more realistic when his character betrays Edie the way he did, because it was so hard for her to deal with.

Edie and Andy

Anyway, like I said, I can't summarize this story well. You have to see it. And you have to pay attention. And you have to be in the right frame of mind to really understand the tragedy of it all. I know a girl very much like Edie and throughout the movie I kept thinking about her and wondering if she might end up the same way. Maybe it bothered me more than it will you, I don't know. Film reviewers didn't rate this movie very high. It wasn't rated as a stinker, but it wasn't rated as a "must see" either. I strongly disagree.

I think this movie was exceptionally well done. And it fascinated me all the way through. I was up until almost 2 am watching it because I lost track of time and didn't pay attention to how long the movie was, plus all the extra features and interviews on the DVD. Also, I was watching the unrated version. Maybe it's longer than the original? I'm giving the movie 1 star just for Sienna Miller's performance, 1 star for Guy Pearce's performance, 1 star for no one getting hit in the balls, and 1 star for everything else. That's 4 stars out of 5. That's my opinion. I think this is a movie that evokes strong reactions from people, so either you're going to really like it or you're not. I loved it.

Sienna and Guy and Edie and Andy

Here is a clip of the real Edie Sedgwick from the 1960s:

And the movie about her:


  1. I can second your recommendation of this movie. Very well cast and acted.

    "Art is what you can get away with." -- Andy Warhol

  2. LX, I can't believe any reviewer shredded this movie. The acting was amazing (except Jimmy Fallon) and the movie was fascinating!

  3. You seem to be able to make any movie sound brilliant.

    You should try and get a job as a reviewer.

    It's a movie I have never even thought of watching. I'm not a big Guy Pearce fan. But now I've read your review(and the wikipedia write up) I'm tempted to give it a go.

  4. I remember wanting to see that movie, and then I forgot all about it. Thanks for the reminder!
    The real Edie was just gorgeous. What a tragic childhood!!

  5. This sounds like an interesting movie that I will have to watch. As for the film reviewers, it seems the movie industry is hand-in-hand with the music industry in pushing their assembly-line crap and leaving the intellectual works out of the limelight (including the annoying trend with both industries to so heavily release remakes of older movies, TV shows and music). I love independent films. I will always hate Rainbow Media for purchasing and destroying AMC (American Movie Classics) and IFC (Independent Film Channel). I think Rainbow Media changed hands again last year, yet those stations remain destroyed. I am left with Sundance and Encore’s independent film stations as two of the last bastions for looking for some intellectual films that are not butchered and inundated with Swiffer, Trojan vibrator and Viagra commercials – the extended versions of those commercials, no less (like the guy who is out in the middle of nowhere with his horses and the commentator says “when the moment is right”..WTF). There is not even any dead space between the shows and commercials anymore. So much for losing yourself in the story. Rainbow (or whoever they are now) also owns Sundance but thankfully at least there are no commercials…yet. They have done to movies what Clear Channel has done to radio. Only broadcast the junk that lends to their advertisers at the expense of artistry, talent and creativity. I looked up this movie on the IMDB web site (I go on the site quite a bit). I see Hayden Christensen is in that film, as well. Always interesting to see in what completely different types of films the ‘Young Darth Vader’ has acted.
    Thanks for the objective review!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Thanks for the recommendation. I love how Guy Pearce has such an amazing ability to get inside the character he's playing.

  9. Ciao Manhattan...ahahaha. I'm not into movies of abuse and especially more so when the movie is based on real events. The (REAL) factory was a Pretentious piece of crap from the mind of a Pretentious villiage idiot (Andy Warhal) who was surrounded by sycophants who wanted nothing more than their pound of flesh. And if I had met Andy Warhal I most likely would have liked him...not for his pretentious twatdom but because of his fragile nature.

    Do you know what my biggest fear was and still is...? It's being unafraid.

    That's fucked up huh?

    Ps...and to show you that I'm so not into abuse movies, I'm still waiting for Mel Gibson to send me my money back for watching that movie "Passion of the Christ."

    Blogger is the comment is not showing...

  10. Ute, I just think this movie was fantastic. I was surprised when I read so many reviewers hating on it.

    Sybil, she sure was. It was eery to hear her brother talking about the terrible things that went on with such a matter-of-fact tone in his voice, like "doesn't everyone's parents do this?"

    SBronx, I didn't know someone had bought out AMC. I just knew it was suddenly wrecked and not worth watching anymore. I used to be addicted to AMC and all those old movies that I had never seen before in my life. And I loved IFC, too. I haven't had a chance to watch it lately, but if the people who wrecked AMC have gotten their hands on it then I guess there isn't much to see there either. I didn't know. Hayden Christensen played Bob Dillon, but they were threatened with a lawsuit so they called his character some other name and deleted the scenes referring to the widely held belief that Dillon got Edie pregnant and the resulting abortion set off her real self-destructive drug use more than anything else.

    Kath, this movie doesn't try to make the Factory into anything more than it was. It isn't a glorification of what went on. It's just a telling of the story. Andy Warhol doesn't exactly come across as the greatest guy in the world in this movie.

  11. AlleyCat, you are quite welcome. Apparently something is very screwed up with Blogger and the comments lately because I was notified of your comment, but when I come here there is no sign of it. And Katherine had similar trouble getting hers to post.

  12. true...writing and movie making is about telling a story. Hey are you into foreign movies? If the answer is yes then watch the swedish movie "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." If you have netflix grab it have to read the subtitles but it doesn't take away from the movie. I know there is an American version coming out but you should see this one too. Then tell me which you prefer...

  13. Ciao Mahanttan is a better piece on the whole, especially with the extra "lost reels." They're amazing to watch with the commentary. Those guys we're there ! Also check out: "Pie in the Sky" doc on Andy's now aged former sidekick who is obsessed with key-lime pie. Pre the shooting and pre Edie that scene was great fun for all those sad, wandering junky-tweeker foundlings !

  14. Kath, I do like foreign films and I can tell you in advance, I'm almost certain to like the original Swedish version better.

    System, I hadn't heard of "Ciao Manhattan" before. Now I have it in my Amazon wish list and I plan to buy it and check it out. I have to admit, though, that Andy's way of putting films together irritates the stink out of me.

  15. Thanks Steve. You're a great reviewer and this is another film that I'll follow up.

    Such powerful characters.


  16. Smack, this was a remarkable movie. I was really surprised at how good Sienna Miller was in this role.

  17. Steve..."Ciao" wasn't really made by Andy (neither we're a lot of the films with his name on them !). It was abandoned for lack of funding, re-started and then re-cut by some of Andy's former scenesters who had ,with age, more perspective and clarity.( "Factory Girl" clearly shaped itself off of Ciao but didn't have that amazing real footage of the time (And the real Edie in it acting the fictional character of herself right before she died !) in it which makes it much stronger. Hope you're getting that special edition with the unused extra footage which is amazing. I actually met her last minute, quickie husband without realizing it was him until seeing that special edition DVD ! Is there an alt cinema scene in Memphis ? The George Plimpton bio is pretty amazing too if you're interested in the gritty details.

  18. System, I'll have to check and see which version I selected. I'd prefer as many extra features as possible. I'm always curious about the behind-the-scenes details.

  19. OmG ! Is Dave starstruck by Edie ? Watch out Dave. It's not real ! It's a trick of projection. I think that's what fascinated Andy. How that power worked. That scene gobbled up a lot of people.

  20. How silly of me assuming you we're merely some frothing fanboy. I finally looked at the rest of the site and realized that you're one o dem classic Southern outsider dark Humorists with an appreciation for the odd and the quirky. I apologize. Check out William Faulkner in that there Barton Fink (surely that IS reviewed here...?).


Related Posts with Thumbnails