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:

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