It’s possible to have great acting in an average movie and that’s certainly the case with Factory Girl Guy Pierce and Sienna Miller are both very strong leads in a film that ultimately ends up as unsatisfying. The first 50 minutes of the movie are fairly fluid and interesting but the last half of the film feels endless as it slowly devolves into a puddle like substance. Sadly, the last 40 minutes make the film feel much longer and will most likely keep it from any sort of box office success.
The story is Edie Sedgwick (Miller), an early muse of Andy Warhol. The movie takes place in the period between 1965 and 1971, the heyday of Warhol’s decadent “Factory” scene where he gathered oddball artists together to make abstract and kooky movies. The other lead actor of note is Hayden Christensen, credited in the film only as “Folk Singer”. Who Christensen really plays is Bob Dylan though the Factory Girl team is clearly quite fearful of being sued and thus never gives his identity away. This little retreat is one of the problems with the film; you know Edie is hanging out with someone famous, because it proclaims to be a true story, yet they don’t capitalize on who the person actually is. You get the idea “okay, this is an important figure” but then are left frustrated without an explanation.
Now, back to my original point, the last of Factory Girl half dragging. This is most likely due to the real life saga of Edie; the story arc of her life wasn’t all that interesting after a certain point. Truly, if you were feeling mean-spirited you could say most of her life wasn’t all that noteworthy or deserving of a major motion picture. Edie was a girl who got caught up in a party scene and made some poor choices. This happens every day, all the time. So what makes her special? She was a blip on the pop culture radar. Yes, it was interesting to see a portrayal of Warhol and Sienna does a great job but without a payoff Factory Girl ultimately ends up a dead duck. I will say I would have been very interested to see almost cast Katie Holmes in the Sedgwick role. Such a move might have gotten her out from the “wife of Tom” brushstroke she’s currently painted with.
On a positive note the opening scenes really get at the thin line between artist and crazy, between cool and bizarre. Pierce as Warhol is tremendous although I think he was channeling Val Kilmer in some weird way. I didn’t know much about the subject matter going in (The NYC artist’s scene in the 60’s) so I found it somewhat enlightening as a concept. I just wish someone could have tagged in to salvage the rest. One thing that would have greatly helped the movie is more actual footage of the time period. This would have added much needed context and depth.
Factory Girl is probably a slight pass. The Sienna sex scene isn’t as interesting as the hype would suggest and the story doesn’t really do much. Like Edie as a gal it ends up being quite a lot of squandered potential.