The dreadful new Edie Sedgwick biopic Factory Girl ends with talking heads like George Plimpton and Sedgwick's brother discussing her life over the end credits, as if to assure audiences that the film's subject was, in fact, a real person and not the dreary cartoon they'd just spent 90 minutes watching. The film strays so far from verisimilitude that it feels more like a big celebrity dress-up party than history brought to life. The profoundly silly Internet favorite series Yacht Rock offered a more convincing take on pop-culture history and that was at least going for laughs.
Factory Girl presents famed socialite-turned-Warhol superstar Sedgwick (Sienna Miller) as a bohemian Anna Nicole Smith, a simpering, hapless child-woman stumbling into drugged-out oblivion. Miller captures the fevered imagination of Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce), who transforms her into a plastic, post modern icon, but once Miller begins dallying with a ridiculous caricature of Bob Dylan (Hayden Christensen, playing a character whose identity has been obscured), Pearce coldly ejects her from his inner circle.
Warhol left such an indelible imprint on pop culture that his innovations, aphorisms, and Factory subculture long ago became clichés. Filmmakers consequently need a radical new take on the Warhol persona to break through the audience's numbing familiarity with the man who came to personify pop art. Alas, the best Factory Girl can muster is Oliver Stone on a budget, complete with shrill overacting, sloppy pacing, constantly changing film stock, distracting celebrity cameos, messy psychodrama, and bleary stylistic overload. The film confirms that the only thing worse than Oliver Stone excess is faux-Oliver Stone excess. As it limps to a close, Factory Girl subscribes to the faulty but maddeningly popular notion that the best way to convey the sordid disorientation of drug addiction is by simulating a really bad acid trip. It reaches an apex of unintentional hilarity when hick-prophet Christensen tells Miller that despite her glamorous lifestyle, her heart is as empty as her friend's soup cans; the egregious miscasting of Christensen as Darth Dylan and lightweight comedian Jimmy Fallon as a tormented gay rich boy only add to the train-wreck quality. Wanting no association with the film, Dylan's lawyers threatened to sue. Everyone else involved may want to consider distancing themselves from Factory Girl as well.