If Andy Warhol's vision of fame in the future had a lifespan of 15 minutes, he might be surprised at the length of time devoted to hyping a simple film about the life of Edie Sedgwick, his greatest muse. Factory Girl has been long anticipated, with Sienna Miller (as Sedgwick) splashed across magazines and spotted in public aping Edie's iconic style for what seems like eternity. Everyone with an interest in Edie has been kept waiting for so long that by now, we're... actually kind of over it.
And now, finally, and rather hastily, Factory Girl has landed. And as with any biopic, fans and self-styled scholars of Edie will get fidgety about the facts, so for the benefit of that audience I'll acknowledge that the Edie of this film is somewhat factually flawed, made to look as though she came to New York as an innocent and was destroyed by Warhol—no mention of the self-destruction already ingrained her personality (by way of bulimia, medication, etc.) long before she ever met him. Likewise, an entire chapter of her post-Warhol life—wherein she becomes embroiled in the California biker scene—is absent, and her romance with a Bob Dylan-esque character is almost entirely fantasy.
What Factory Girl does give is a tidy synopsis, with truths and rumors played up or down as needed to suit the film's simplistic downward spiral. While not an unpleasant journey, Factory Girl is neither challenging nor moving. Miller, whom I despise, is competent and game, although what I found most remarkable in her performance was her study and recreation of Edie's WASPy, distinctly moneyed American cadence of speech.
Perhaps the only lastingly disappointing thing about this film is its uninspired portrayal of Warhol's Factory scene, which is nothing more than a rote collection of repetitious trappings we've all seen before, without capturing any of the magic and glamour that Edie famously conjured.