Factory Girl (2007) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Factory Girl is the film about the relationship between the pop culture artist Andy Warhol (Guy Pearce) and one of his entourage, a rich wild child named Edie Sedgwick (Sienna Miller), whose appearances in Warhol's bohemian films and at his side in social functions during the 1965-66 era gave her the metaphorical fifteen minutes of fame Warhol once spoke of. Sedgwick managed to turn a casual introduction to Warhol into a strange relationship in which the artist seemed to promote the rich girl as his doppelganger. Eventually Sedgwick developed other interests and parted company with Warhol. Catch up on the facts with her Wikipedia bio.

In the film's version of the story, she betrayed her mentor by shifting her cultural allegiance to another icon, Bob Dylan (as portrayed by Darth Vader!), thus violating Warhol's one and only commandment: that his followers could worship no other gods. The choice of Dylan was particularly distasteful to Warhol since the folk singer despised the crass commercialism, the gossipy backstabbing, and the prep school style of social stratification which characterized Warhol's studio (the titular Factory). When Dylan got married to another woman and Warhol cast her aside, Sedgwick degenerated into a spiral of self-pity and substance abuse that would eventually claim her life at age 28.

As I watched Factory Girl, I was wondering to myself, "Why did the filmmakers make this story?" You have to believe that they thought it was an interesting and involving story, or an enlightening one, or one that would offer some moral lesson, or some combination of those three elements, but in reality it is none of the three. To begin with, all of the characters are unsympathetic. Worse still they are uninteresting. Warhol and his confederates never seem to have anything worthwhile or clever to say. Their entire artistic conceit seems to consist of terse verbal irony, but not with any wit involved, just basically saying something other than what they really feel. Granted, that portrayal does seem to offer a fairly good reflection of Warhol's attitude toward everything. His artistic stock in trade was to ridicule trash not by vilifying it, but by deifying it and (presumably) sneering condescendingly when the bourgeois suckers bought his works without realizing that their taste was being ridiculed even as they wrote the checks. This sort of ironic posturing doesn't translate well into dialogue. Warhol just sounds like a sarcastic high school senior and a complete ass when he drawls out a "Well, that was nice" dripping with insincerity, or when he asks Sedgwick if she's already spent the fifty dollars he gave her months earlier. Perhaps Warhol was creepy, unsympathetic, shy, and a bit of a dullard, but he had to have some qualities that elevated him to the level he reached. He became the very symbol of a time and place, and the qualities that got him there are not in evidence in this script. Moreover, Warhol's hangers-on seemed to think it was fun to hang with him every night until all hours, but the reason for that attitude cannot be seen here. The group seems to consist of a bunch of snobs waiting for someone to slip so that they can judge him or her harshly. They're like vampires feeding on one another's blood. Even this might be entertaining if they were all as witty as Oscar Wilde, but they seem to be closer in spirit to Oscar's remote descendant, GirlsGone.

Sedgwick's own story is just one more of those "innocents caught in the maelstrom of fame" tales, and I didn't see any new spin to make this one worth watching. Sienna Miller's Edie is a pale not-as-good reflection of Angelina Jolie's well known interpretation of Gia Carangi, except with less depth. Edie comes off as a spoiled, shallow and giggly airhead  - Warhol's designated eye candy - with no real contribution to make to the Factory team, as if she were the Paris Hilton of her own age, which I suppose she was. (She even mentions that she stopped wearing underwear.) The script tries to offer some insight by positing a correlation between her troubled home life and her ultimate collapse, but that relationship is treated superficially and obliquely, so that we never know whether the things she says about her family really have any bearing on her fate, or even whether they are true.

You would think that a film with no entertainment value would at least be a good history lesson, but that's not the case.  Sedgwick's rumored romantic relationship with Bob Dylan, which Dylan always denied, is treated as if it were an established fact. Dylan and his lawyers raised enough of a stink about the portrayal that the character was renamed so that this film could be released without legal hassles. Of course the guitar-toting, harmonica-playing character still looks, dresses, and talks exactly like Dylan, and no effort is made to disguise his identity, but since his name is "Billy Quinn," and since every other character in the film uses the name of a real person, Billy Quinn can't be Dylan. Ahem. Wink-wink. Nudge-nudge.

So one is neither entertained by this film nor involved in it, and one cannot reliably learn from it. It's not even very effective as a "drugs suck" movie. In short, this is just a very weak film. As cast member Jimmy Fallon used to say in a previous occupation, "It's got nothin'." It runs only 83 minutes between the credits, but its lack of vitality and its inability to engage makes it seem longer than War and Peace. In fact, it seems longer than the actual Napoleonic Wars. It really has nothing to engage the audience, and in a sense is not a film at all, but basically just an extended celebrity impersonation skit like the kind they used to do on SCTV.

Except without the laughs.



  • full-length director's commentary
  • one deleted scene
  • The Real Edie  - documentary
  • Guy Pearce's video diary
  • Sienna Miller's audition
  • "making of" featurette
  • "on the red carpet" featurette


  • Sienna Miller - breasts on multiple occasions. Brief glimpses of pubic hair.

  • Tara Summers - breasts

  • One unknown woman - breasts

  • One unknown man - almost naked riding a bicycle (no genitals visible)

  • Hayden Christensen - flaccid penis

The Critics Vote ...


The People Vote ...

Miscellaneous ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a D+ if you ignore the value of the nudity. It features some good celebrity impersonations, but no apparent raison d'etre. I guess you could stretch the grade to a C- if the genre is "celebrity nudity films," because I can imagine fans watching it for the good-to-excellent Sienna Miller nudity.

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