Factory Girl is a 60's film heavily influenced by another 60's film -- Oliver Stone's The Doors. Like Stone's intriguing plastic vision of Jim Morrison's perpetual-bender world, this is a film seen from the inside of a jelly-lensed fishbowl, where beautiful people with vanilla helmet-hair hold court in infrared corner booths at Max's Kansas City, stabbing out cigarettes and talking in maddening, rapid-fire generalities about 'art' and getting 'beneath the surface' of things and so forth. The civil rights struggle is a television show that they ignore as they walk past it -- it's a prop to settle us into the time period, along with the curly-q phone cords and big, spongy acid cubes. Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick have a microphone stuck in their faces at an event and are asked: "What do you think of the war in Vietnam?" "We prefer I Dream of Jeannie," Edie spits back. But as turned-on by superficiality as Warhol was, this film, coming in the age of Paris Hilton, stumbles by settling for a pair of superficial portraits.
Outer and Inner Space, a Warhol film that critic Amy Taubin called an "ingenious memento mori," shows Sedgwick being forced to confront video footage of her own chattering head; Warhol is mocking the fundamental imbalance contained in the heiress -- wealth and privilege and social access without any ambition or character. Factory Girl is largely uninterested in Warhol's artistic pursuits, however, and Guy Pearce was clearly nettled into delivering an amusing spin on the Warhol 'character' -- during confession, he pops Hershey's Kisses and daydreams about whether Norman Mailer will ever punch him. The Sedgwick of this film, played with ability by Sienna Miller, is also somewhat misrepresented. She's portrayed as a fragile fawn, with the woundability of Audrey Hepburn and the go-along, casting-couch enthusiasm of a groupie. The real Edie seems to have been more of a fighting spirit -- when you look for her in the endless detritus of unfinished Warholia-footage that exists, you're less likely to find her fluttering like a damsel than play-wrestling, pulling growl-faces and flexing her horse-riding muscles.