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Movie Review: Factory Girl

Factory Girl
Directed by George Hickenlooper
Written by Captain Mauzner from a story by Mauzner, Simon Monjack, and Aaron Richard Golub
Weinstein Company, 2006

A dark-horse Oscar entry for actress Sienna Miller last year, Factory Girl is yet another one of those biopics that just don’t translate very well, mostly because the biopic has almost zero entertainment value anymore.  Everyone who has been a celebrity, either controversial or revolutionary, has the exact same life.  This is why we’re getting the comedy Walk Hard this December.

Miller plays Edie Sedgwick, a woman who moved to New York City and became part of the Andy Warhol scene.  Warhol here is played magnificently by the consistently underused, underappreciated Guy Pearce.  Warhol was in the middle of shooting his films, not exactly movie theatre material but certainly museum material (you can go to the Museum of Modern Art and see his work) as interesting experiments.  The woman who caught his eye was Sedgwick, who became an underground celebrity.

Ahh, but being beautiful and wasting your trust fund on New York fashions, living quarters, and drugs has its negative side.  Sedgwick gets hooked on the needle and as a palm reader apparently told her, as she was all too painfully aware, her lifeline broke in the middle and she wasn’t going to live past 30.  A romance with, what the movie calls “Musician” (Hayden Christensen), and who we’re supposed to interpret as Bob Dylan, fizzles as the drugs and the Warhol scene take over.  As with nearly all biopics, there’s the guy who loved her but never got a chance to be with her (Shawn Hatosy), and what celebrity would be complete without accusations of sexual abuse by her father?

So how impactful was Sedgwick?  Damned if I know.  I know that Miller looks a lot like Sedgwick and she’s very good in the role, but it just doesn’t ring as anything important.  It’s unfortunate in the world of fame that there are many, many women like Sedgwick who were beautiful and charming but fell hard and died much too early, and thus it doesn’t make for compelling drama.

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