Review in a Hurry: A jumpy, way-too-conventional biopic
of Warhol sidekick Edie Sedgwick. But at least it's something on the big screen for gay high schoolers in small towns.
The Bigger Picture: For a film about Warhol's infamous Factory scene, this Edie Sedgwick biopic is, in some ways, depressingly conventional. Warhol (Guy Pearce), portrayed as an enigmatic near sociopath, scoops up the East Coast heiress as a pimp stalks a potential moneymaker.
At first, Warhol and his muse appear the best of friends; as the film progresses, Warhol's vampiric nature becomes apparent. Edie stars in Warhol's movies and becomes the toast of Manhattan. In short order, she is ostracized from the Factory due to a romance with a Dylanesque rock star (Hayden Christensen), who knits his brow, bemoans the world's issues, and drives Edie off into the clichéd sunset. An amalgamation of Edie's real romances, he appears to function as the rugged foil to Warhol's onscreen queerness, as well as the voice of reason: Did Warhol chew her up and spit her out, or did she ask for it?
Sienna Miller does a fantastic job of invoking Edie, from energetic ingenue to desperate junkie. By all accounts, Edie was warm, charismatic and vulnerable; or as Factory photographer Nat Finkelstein put it, "Edie was a combination of all the tragic women that came before her." (Interviews with Factory scenesters and notable New Yorkers run split screen with the end credits, leave you pining for a straight documentary.)
Reminiscent of Velvet Goldmine in some respects—its fast pace, documentary-style segments and creative use of effects and nonlinear editing (Edie's post-Factory years are represented through psychiatric hospital interviews), the rock 'n' roll flavor of Factory Girl can be pawned off on director George Hickenlooper (Mayor of the Sunset Strip ). Though cringingly conventional, one does get a sense of Edie's vivaciousness, as well as a plausible re-creation of Warhol's mad '60s.
The 180—a Second Opinion: If you're just dying to love this movie, you can groove on how the filmmakers went out of their way to make it "authentic," from costume design to vintage film stock. It's kinda like you were there—but honestly now, would you really want to be?
© Skylaire Alfvegren written for and published by E! Online