Utilizing hours of unseen archival footage, The Beales is a new take on the women of Grey Gardens
Mother and daughter - Big Edie and Little Edie Beale - live with six cats in a crumbling house in East Hampton. Little Edie, in her 50s, who wears scarves and bright colors, sings, mugs for the camera, and talks to Al and David Maysles, the filmmakers. Big Edie, in her 70s, recites poetry, comments on her daughter's behavior, and sings "If I Loved You" in fine voice. She talks in short sentences; her daughter in volumes. The film is episodic: friends visit, there's a small fire in the house, Little Edie goes to the shore and swims. She talks about the Catholic Church. She's ashamed that local authorities raided the house because of all the cats. She values being different.