A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this tragic biopic about Edie Sedgwick isn't for kids. Pieced together through scenes of the often-bizarre underground world of Andy Warhol's mid-'60s Factory, it includes graphic images of sex, drinking, drugs, causal nudity, and soft porn. Edie shares memories of incest with her father (starting when she was 8), her brother's suicide, her first time having sex (while at a mental hospital), her parents giving her drugs from a young age, and more. Fashion-crazy teens may be drawn by star Sienna Miller's uncanny resemblance to Sedgwick -- whose iconic fashion sense has given her cult status today. But the movie's language, the characters' decadent debauchery, and, frankly, the extremely depressing story line about a privileged young woman's doomed life make it too much even for teens.
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What's the story?
The film chronicles Edie Sedgwick's (Sienna Miller) mid-'60s days with artist Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce) and his Factory, a glam Manhattan loft where artist misfits partied and made underground movies (some of which were pornographic). As light and happy as Sedgwick appears -- prancing around in leotards and tights, with her infectious laugh and her love of art and friends -- she reveals a dark past through painful stories. Born to a wealthy, blue-blooded family, Sedgwick grew up afraid of her father's sexual advances and with no support from her chilly mother. What's more, she had to deal with her brother's suicide and being admitted to a mental hospital. Given all that, it comes as no surprise to watch Sedgwick drink excessively, experiment casually with drugs, and get hooked on heroin. Warhol is painted as a monster as he watches this deeply troubled young woman slip slowly into a black hole. It's well-documented that Sedgwick knew Bob Dylan, but in the film she becomes involved with a prophet-like folk musician known as Billy Quinn (Hayden Christensen). (Apparently Dylan's people threatened to sue if he was mentioned.) Quinn tries to pry Sedgwick away from Warhol, and though she's tempted, she can't escape the Factory's clutches. This starts her downward spiral, which is accompanied by some of the film's saddest scenes -- graphic images of Sedgwick being injected in her bruised bottom, drugged, and taken advantage of by other junkies. Warhol further punishes her with an almost-rape scene in one of his movies.
Is it any good?
Any parent who knows anything about the life of Edie Sedgwick will know that FACTORY GIRL isn't a film for kids -- or even teens. Filmed partially in black and white, Factory Girl jumps chaotically from scene to scene, sometimes just showing snippets, as Sedgwick spins out of control. Viewers who don't know how her story ends may feel hopeful viewing Sedgwick narrate her '60s experiences during a rehab therapy session -- she looks softer without her characteristic black eyeliner, tights, and mini skirt. But as with much of Sedgwick's life, looks can be deceiving.
The film is hard enough to watch for adults who are already familiar with this era and these figures -- teens may think they're getting a movie about a fashion, art and glamour, but they'll emerge feeling disturbed, fooled, and upset.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the art of Andy Warhol. What message do his images of household items send?
Parents should also address Sedgwick's seduction into Warhol's Factory and what was really missing in her life -- a solid ground to call home.
How did this affect the direction Sedgwick's life took?
- In theaters: February 8, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: June 19, 2007
- Cast: Guy Pearce, Hayden Christensen, Sienna Miller
- Director: George Hickenlooper
- Studio: Weinstein Co.
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: nudity, drug use, language, sexual content.
- Last updated: September 16, 2020
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