Thursday, January 22, 2009

Factory Girl

Andy Warhol was a bit before my time. I am familiar with Warhol's Pop Art like his famous 100 Soup Cans. I was completely unfamiliar with Warhol's work with movies, probably because they just weren't good. Some of Warhol's films were highlighted in the movie Factory Girland they just weren't good. Warhol began making these films in 1963. Upon meeting Edie Sedgwick in 1965, Warhol decided to insert her into a film based on the novel A Clockwork Orange that was made of an all male cast. After another small part in Horse,Warhol decided to make a film that featured Sedgwick. Thus, a factory girl was born. Her first film was called Poor Little Rich Girl.

Andy Warhol developed the concept of fifteen minutes of fame. Edie Sedgwick is the personification of this idea. Edie came from a very wealthy family with an impressive pedigree. She was descended from a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Authors, Artists and Railroad men were among the distinguished ancestors from which she derived. Sedgwick could probably have used her family influence to get into real movies, but she somehow seemed enamored of Warhol. Factory Girlpaints their relationship as somewhat predatory on Warhol's part. Sedgwick's introduction to drugs and bohemian lifestyle is a recipe for disaster for her, that clouds her judgment.

The film covers a brief tryst between Sedgwick and Bob Dylan during the time that Sedgwick is still making films with Warhol. In reading her biography, it appears more likely that Sedgwick became familiar with Dylan while living at the Chelsea Hotel after severing her ties with Warhol. Either way, the relationship is covered in the film with Dylan confronting Warhol over his parasitic treatment of people. The film also deals With Sedgwicks relationship with Bob Neuwirth. A fundamental story line covers Sedgwick's battle with addiction that culminates in her death in 1971. Edie Sedgwick seems to have been an integral part of growing up in the 1960's, influencing hair styles and attire. She has been the subject of many songs. Growing up in the 1970's, I am surprised I was unaware of Sedgwick's influence. I guess every generation has it's own influences.

Factory Girlwas directed by George Hickenlooper. The screenplay was written by Captain Mauzner, based on the story created by Aaron Richard Golub, Simon Monjack and Captain Mauzner. Although the story seems to take a few liberties with the time lines, it was interesting to watch the interaction of famous characters like Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan. The language from the 1960s has a delicious flavor that I really like. So the dialogue was rich and interesting. The plot was anti-climatic which is not uncommon for a biography. The pacing was okay but it was sluggish a few times. There were some funny wacky moments written in that I got a good chuckle out of. Overall, the writing was tolerable but not exceptional.

The casting for Factory Girlbrought some familiar faces to the screen. I was not wowed by the performances, but I was entertained. Sienna Miller was fairly strong in the lead role of Edie Sedgwick. Her performance was believable and she bore a decent resemblance to the photos I have found of the real Edie Sedgwick. Guy Pearce has that angular Warhol face...with some make-up and a blond wig, he was pretty convincing. Pearce was a bit better as Warhol. The credits refer to Hayden Christiansen as the Musician, who is never actually identified in the film as Bob Dylan. The biography seems to indicate that Dylan would be the character referred to as the Musician in the credits. Jimmy Fallon played Chuck Wein. I want to laugh whenever I see Fallon...he's just funny. His role in this film was not funny, but it was nice to see him...even if his performance was forgettable. The cast did a good job of creating a 1960's atmosphere, but there was not a standout performance.

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