Rented the film first and then watched the documentary.
Wow. Fascinating on so many levels.
First, the documentary. The real women are, of course, more engrossing. I could not take my eyes off of Little Edie. There is no question that the woman possessed charisma in spades, even without hair and with haphazard clothing. There is a genuine sweetness to her that makes you adore her. All of the unfair things that happened to her in her life, and she has very little bitterness and only shows anger (appropriate anger, by the way) once in the film. Her clothing, though odd, shows great creativity and has a certain panache to it. Her speaking style is mesmerizing with a slow cadence, a wonderfully creative vocabulary, and an unusual accent. It is my belief that she cannot fully distinguish between the past and the present, maybe because the present is so awful, she can only live as things were the same. At one point in the film, she talks about how the washing bins used to be in the servants quarters, then repeats, "The washing bins are in the servants quarters." She pauses and then says, "It's very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present. You know what I mean? It's awfully difficult."
The elder Edie had no charm for me. She came off as dangerously selfish and self-absorbed, and her disgustingly dirty bed almost made me wretch.
Second, the film. What performances by Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. Truly amazing. I mean, it is a lot easier when you have so much footage to copy, but still, they were amazing. I wish there were more roles for Jessica Lange, she always was one of my favorites.