Factory Girl

"Good"

Factory Girl Review


At the outset, Factory Girl looks like thin material for a biopic: It covers the life of Edie Sedgwick, a college dropout propelled to "it" girl status by Andy Warhol in the sixties, only to lose herself, as "it" people often do, to drugs and fresher faces. The movie starts with her leaving college, ends well before her death at age 28, and (intentionally or not) presents a convincing case that she didn't do much with the years in between.

But so many filmed biographies cram from childhood to old age, resulting in filmed Cliff Notes, or a mini-series at twice the speed and half the scenes. That Factory Girl doesn't have to cover an Edie Sedgwick comeback -- that she dies young and off-camera -- is a perverse relief. George Hickenlooper's brief, sometimes impressionistic film is most illuminating when showing both the allure and the casualties of Warhol's free but detached Factory scene.

Speaking with an upper-crust movie-star accent that sounds sort of like a cigarette-damaged Audrey Hepburn (Sedgwick's idol), Sienna Miller plays Edie Sedgwick not as a larger-than-life force of nature but as a girl who wants to be famous, have fun, and escape her wretched (but monied) family life. In Warhol's purposefully artificial and unscripted DIY movies, she could be herself, not do much of anything, and still win art-circle praise. She needs Warhol (Guy Pearce) more than he needs her, but he's the one who feels slighted and hurt if she, say, spends time with an unnamed musician who looks and sounds an awful lot like Bob Dylan (Hayden Christensen). Pearce is terrific as Warhol, welcoming Edie into his world and then shutting her -- or anyone else -- out with cold ease, shielding himself with his sunglasses and peppering his speech with oh yeahs that manage to sound both inviting and dismissive.

Christensen may have an even tougher part, essentially playing Dylan without getting to admit it, but he's helped by an uncanny resemblance to the folk poet as a young man, as well as an ability to capture the truth and bluster behind a young Dylan. The various scenes between Sedgwick, Warhol, and/or semi-Dylan all have an odd, alluring art-project charge.

But Pearce and Christensen aren't onscreen all the time -- they can't stick around for Sedgwick's druggy fade-out -- and the movie suffers without them. Hickenlooper has assembled an eclectic supporting cast, but underuses familiar faces like Jimmy Fallon, Mena Suvari, and Illeana Douglas, all doing what they can with brief, two-dimensional roles that beg for a standout scene or two. The closest any of the support has to a moment is a protective outburst from Edie's college friend (apparent Weinstein contract player Shawn Hatosy).

A wandering, ill-defined supporting cast can be symptomatic of a real mess, but if anything, Factory Girl isn't messy enough, with some tidy voiceover musings from Miller that the actors render redundant with just a few lines or gestures. With plot smartly de-emphasized in favor of scene-setting, Hickenlooper could've gone further with the film's stylish visual hodgepodge of blurs, slow-motion, and high-contrast photography. Instead, the film holds back, a little too restrained to break out of the rise-and-fall biopic trajectory, even as Sedgwick's lost life provides plenty of diversions from this formula. All of the talented background players look like victims of this slight reticence.

But is it so lamentable that a film about a semi-model-slash-semi-actress, willing to try whatever but only fitting in for a little while, registers more as a curiosity than a full-fledged film? If nothing else, Factory Girl gives an unsettling glimpse into what it's like to be used up and then left out by an unforgiving art scene. Sedgwick liked attention and she liked having fun; at least the movie honors half of that.

She demands worker's comp!



Factory Girl

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd February 2007

Box Office USA: $1.6M

Budget: $7M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: The Weinstein Company, L.I.F.T. Production, Holly Wiersma Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 19%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 91

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Malcolm Petal, , Aaron Richard Golub

Starring: as Edie Sedgwick, as Andy Warhol, as Musician, as Richie Berlin, as Chuck Wein, as Brigid Polk, as Ingrid Superstar, as Gerard Malanga, Armin Amiri as Ondine, as Syd Pepperman, as Julia Warhol, as Fuzzy Sedgwick, as James Townsend, as Diana Vreeland, as Mort Silvers, as Mrs. Whitley

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

Advertisement
The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.