I guess it
is questionable whether or not Edie Sedgwick is a historical figure
deserving of a bio-pic, but undeniably she did lead an interesting, tragic
life. Still, there is the nagging question: are beauty, cool
friends, a brief flirtation with outré stardom, sensational news
stories, drugs and a premature death enough to hang a film on?
From the evidence of
Factory Girl, apparently it is. And this
is not just because of the subject, but it is mostly due to the astonishing
work of the film's star.
Sienna Miller, who is no stranger to the gossip pages
herself, continues to show herself off as a way-underrated actress playing
the arc of this doomed soul; from the fresh promise of art school in England to the
drug-addled desperation of the Chelsea Hotel.
Sedgwick – for those of
you who don't know – was a beautiful, rich art student who moved to New
York in the wild 60s craving fame and fun. She met pop artist Andy
Warhol at his infamous Factory. The painter, intrigued by her beauty
and her life force, started to use her in his experimental films, making
Sedgwick an alternative icon (before the concept of alternative really even
The films were poorly made, mostly ad libbed,
purposely amateurish, but Sedgwick had the "it" quality that made her the
talk of New York's intelligencia and cool party people – at least briefly.
Meanwhile, the film takes a
look into the Factory, with all it's day-glo decadence and vaguely
pretentious artsiness. It's pale figurehead is Warhol, played in a
surprisingly spooky impersonation by Guy Pearce or LA Confidential
and Memento – a total stretch for this adventurous actor.
Warhol had a complex relationship with Sedgwick. He was homosexual and
yet he found her enrapturing. She was his confidant and yet he never
really listened to her problems. He loved her and yet he was totally
Into her life comes an enigmatic folk singer
(Hayden Christiansen) named Billy, though he could not have been more
obviously based on Bob Dylan if he wore a t-shirt reading Bobby Z.
(Dylan, apparently, was not too thrilled with the idea of being portrayed in
this film, leading to this terribly transparent cover-up.) However,
despite the fact that he is supposed to be seen as Edie's possible
salvation, "Billy" is a bit of a snobbish, temperamental, argumentative,
full-of-himself jackass. (Come to think of it, some people have used
the same description of Mr. Tambourine Man himself, particularly during that
era of his career.)
Eventually she falls out of favor with Warhol
and his crowd (she had the nerve to ask to be paid for her work.). Of
course, in that status mad group, she was no longer the flavor of the month,
so it's likely it would have only been a matter of time.
arch films turned her from a sensation to a joke in what seemed a
millisecond, while her growing drug dependency and inability to work left
her spiraling out of control.
It's a familiar story, even
though it is true. Beautiful girl goes to the big city, lusting for
the big time, falls in with a bad crowd, gets a taste of stardom and
then gets it snatched away from her as the city spits her out. Still,
you have to give it to Factory Girl, just like Sedgwick, it wears its
tattered clothes with inimitable style.
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 20, 2007.