(out of 5)
God, I miss the good old days when I could sip a cocktail, snort cocaine, get a blowjob, discuss Proust with a beatnik and swap lipsticks with the latest celebrity artist all at the same time without ever having to leave my place at the bar. Such times are recalled in George Hickenlooper’s valentine to Edie Sedgwick, the blue blooded socialite who threw her youth away on a fast life and died tragically young. After running away from college and arriving in New York where she had every intention of reinventing herself as Holly Golightly, Sedgwick (Sienna Miller) becomes fast friends with celebrated artist Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce, doing the best Warhol yet) and sky-rockets to fame by working with him. She’s attracted to his genius, and he, a man who is insecure about his looks thanks to a damaging facial skin condition and an overbearing mother, is immediately taken in by her perfect elfin beauty. Their life is superbly glamorous, but aside from being a noted artist with a singular perspective, Warhol is also a vulnerable human being, and when Sedgwick fails to make him beautiful by association, and when she attracts the attentions of an unnamed rock star (Hayden Christensen, playing a character based on Bob Dylan), he drops her completely and leaves her without any financial or emotional support. Now Sedgwick, alone and without her family (either back home or in the city) has to fend for herself but instead falls headlong into a very damaging life that will lead her to its end. While the film isn’t a milestone classic, it has lots of things going for it, namely Hickenlooper’s refreshingly balanced view of the Warhol Studio days that isn’t as desperately reverential as others have been nor as judgemental; basically he puts across the likely reality that these were a bunch of kids who were super cool and had wonderful vitality but really should have been more careful. Aside from that, there’s a bombs-away blazing performance by Miller who plays the young gamine protagonist to the hilt, along with Hickenlooper working hard to make her neither heroic nor supremely tragic. Christensen is a setback, trying desperately hard to make us like him and never for a millisecond believable, but he isn’t enough to kill the experience.
Directed by George Hickenlooper
Cinematography by Michael Grady
Music by Ed Shearmur
Production Design by Jeremy Reed
Costume Design by John Dunn
Cast Tags: Alexi Wasser, Armin Amiri, Beth Grant, Brandon Ray Olive, Brendan Faddis, Brian Bell, Charles Ferrara, Colleen Camp, Deneen Tyler, Don Novello, Edward Herrmann, George Plimpton, Georgina Chapman, Gerard Malanga, Grant James, Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Heather Bloom, Illeana Douglas, Jack Huston, James Naughton, Jeff Galpin, Jim Coope, Jimmy Fallon, Joel Michaely, Johnny Whitworth, Jon E. Edwards, Jonathan Sedgwick, Kent Jude Bernard, Kevin Lyons, Madeleine Poirrier, Marian Faddis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Mena Suvari, Meredith Ostrom, Michael Hughes, Michael Post, Michael Stephens, Morris Bart, Nat Finkelstein, Patrick Wilson, Peggy Walton-Walker, Peter Barnes, Renee Vincent, Richard Folmer, Richard Lasko, Richie Berlin, Robert Lasko, Sally Kirkland, Samantha Maloney, Shawn Hatosy, Sienna Miller, Stephen Cox, Tara Summers, Tarajia Morrell, Thomas Faustin Huisking, Tim Soergel, Tommy Perna, Trace Cheramie, Trisha Meaney, Will Carter