The film is Grey Garden, which incidentally is based on a documentary with the same name from 1975 and which also has been previously adapted into a musical. The film marks the directorial debut of Michael Sucsy.
Edith Bouvier Beal (Little Edie)
Little Edith Bouvier Beal was the most notably the cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Born in New York in 1917 at the site that is now the Carlyle Hotel. She was only daughter of Phelan Beale and Edith Ewing Beal (Big Edie). Living a socialite life and encouraged by her mother to be a star, she would often sing for small parties and model in New York City and Palm Beach as a child.
In her teens, her father left her and her mother (Big Edie) during a time when her mother depended on their family network to provide for them.
With a various relationships that never led to marriage (including engagement to Joe Kennedy Jr.) Little Edith never married (she claimed she was only interested in Sagittarius, but needed to settle down with a Libra).
After some time on her own, Little Edie returned to her mother and into 1952 moved in with her at Grey Gardens (a 28 room estate in East Hampton, NY that had been purchased for Big Edie in 1923). Apparently a trust fund had been set up at one point to take care of the women, but Big Edie's brother Jack B ("Black Jack") Bouvier seized up the trust fund and used it to invest in his own daughter's Jackie and Lee. Instead big and little Edie received only $300 a month and gained extra money by selling off their Tiffany pieces.
The two women lived in isolation and poverty, especially after the death of their caretaker/handyman Tom "Tex" Logan in 1963.
In 1971 the Suffolk County Health Department raided the house discovering that countless violations has occurred within the large multi-room estate for years. The home was filled with trash, raccoons, opossums, cats, and human waste.
The scandal made national news, and the health department threatened to evict the women unless it was clean. Jackie Kennedy Onassis and husband Aristotle Onassis ended up footing the bill ($32,000) which was used to fix the inspection problem, replace the plumbing and furnace, and cart away over a thousand bags of garbage.
In 1977 Big Edie died. Little Edie stayed in Grey Gardens for a little while while starting a poorly reviewed cabaret career at 60. Edith stayed in New York moving from the large estate, to a cottage, to a studio apartment.
In 1983 she moved to Florida were she lived out the majority of her life, with the exception of some time in Montreal and Oakland, California.
Edith lived in relative solitude in an apartment in Bal Harbour, Florida spending her time swimming, and writing poetry and letters. She was discovered dead in 2002 at the age of 84, where she presumed to have been dead multiple days of a heart attack.
The film is based on the lives of Little and Big Edie and is largely based on the 1975 documentary that gave rise to interest in these two women who had recently had their house inspected and were saved by Jackie Kennedy Onassis. In this film Barrymore plays Little Edie while two time Oscar winner Jessica Lange plays Big Edie. Jeanne Tripplehorn plays Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
A big name in film, but with light and infrequent critical raves could Drew Barrymore receive critical attention or even an Oscar nomination/win for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?