Friday, March 09, 2007

Waiting For A Factory Girl?

George Hickenlooper's Factory Girl (2006) turns on the relationship between Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol, disrupted by a Bob Dylanesque character. Overall, it rates about a B. There are three good things about it: Sienna Miller as Edie Sedgwick, Guy Pearce as Warhol; and a recreation of The Factory milieu.

This could have been a stronger film. Parts of the story are too simplified and distorted. Bob Dylan's team threatened law suits if they used his name. Lou Reed refused to allow any Velvet Underground music on the soundtrack. The script is uneven. The reality of the Sedgwick story was richer and more interesting. Warhol was not merely the icy Moon to Dylan's fiery Sun. Edie in reality had a number of "friends" besides Dylan, and even within his circle, Bob Neuwirth played an important role in her life at the time -- much more happened than in the movie version, especially thanks to their proximity via the Hotel Chelsea. Dylan was married to Sara Lownds on November 22, 1965, and lived with her in the Chelsea (third floor). Edie lived in the Chelsea. Neuwirth lived in the Chelsea. Warhol hung out in the area and frequently ate and brainstormed next store at the El Quijote (sometimes referred to as the El Quixote); parts of Chelsea Girls (1966) were filmed in the hotel.

Factory Girl gives a plausible view of the Sedgwick-Warhol friendship. Rather than Dylan interfering with it, though, it's much more likely that Edie's addictions and instability drew her off her Superstar throne in the Warhol pantheon, not any one person. One of the more effective scenes in the film, in fact, shows Edie in decline, in her bed in the Chelsea, with three junkies tearing through her things while she can barely move. That scene, her alone moments and those with just her and Warhol are worth the rest of it.

Hickenlooper began his directing career as a documentary filmmaker. His Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse (1991) and Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas (1991) are both excellent.

Today's Rune: The Self.

Ciao! Detroit!


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the posts Erik. Thank you

Johnny Yen said...

Thanks for the review-- sounds like a "wait to put it on my Netflix queue" movie.

Loved the Stones' reference in my title. One of my favorites from Beggar's Banquet.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've often found that a movie I can't wait to see doesn't live up to my expectations. The latest Sylvia Plath movie is one of them. Nice review. And like Johnny Yen, I'll wait for the DVD rental.