Review

Factory Girl Review

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Feb 05, 2007 | 11:34am EST

Factory Girl centers on East Coast socialite Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller) who in the ‘60s was considered Andy Warhol’s muse was linked romantically to Bob Dylan and eventually died of a drug overdose at 28. The story starts as Sedgwick like a contemporary Paris Hilton becomes a tabloid fixture on the New York social scene. Warhol (Guy Pearce) brings Edie into his Factory workshop populated by boho artsy types who spend all day indulging Warhol’s artistic fantasies. When Edie quickly scales the social ladder as Andy’s pal she meets a Bob Dylan-like rock star (Hayden Christensen). Edie reaches a social stratosphere quickly but it is fleeting and she spirals downward lashing out at everyone especially Warhol. Edie dies sadly dismissed by some of the ones who loved her best. As a tabloid staple herself due to her on-again off-again relationship with Jude Law Miller’s performance as Edie is striking. Miller studied Sedgwick’s life for a year to play the role listening to tapes and interviewing friends and family of the deceased socialite and it paid off. Her commitment and effortlessness to Sedgwick’s physicality voice tone and histrionics feel lived in and Method-perfect. Pearce as the duplicitous Warhol also disappears into the role behind white face make-up and a slight build. Christensen however nearly kills the movie as Billy Quinn a fictional version of Bob Dylan but more like a badly conspicuous caricature of the famous folk singer. When Christensen moves freely without self conscience he is as good as he was in Shattered Glass. But when he opens his mouth  Christensen becomes Anakin Skywalker playing Bob Dylan. Guaranteed at least one person in the audience will laugh. George Hickenlooper bricks this one. The Mayor of the Sunset Strip director seems to have whipped something organic out of the 87-minute Factory Girl--too short to make an impact but mercifully and wisely cut down to the bare minimum. Hickenlooper has said he had to do a lot of “hand-holding” while making Factory Girl--and that he will never make another biopic—and his restlessness and frustration are evident in the movie’s lack of cohesion. The film’s meticulousness to details is undermined by its ham-handedness and shoddy dramatics. Back to the factory line.

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