Beauty number two. Edie, in her underwear, sits with her body artfully poised, looking very beautiful. Her face and body are over exposed and almost completely white, making her brilliantly dark eyes look beautiful in the middle of her blank body. Her male companion “Jeanie-o” sits wearing only his pants. They sit together on a large bed with white sheets and big white pillows, and a big black dog separating them. She doesn’t interact much her onscreen male companion apart from polite smiles and a shared drink and ashtray. Her lack of interest in him leads me to believe that he is a big half naked stranger which is perhaps why she is much more interested in what we can’t see. Instead, Edie carries on a conversation with a man off screen, who she refers to as “Chuck”.
Chuck, who she feels so comfortable with, begins to bend their conversation against her. He starts accusing her of being vain, then stupid. His accusations are met with laughs and almost cute responses. The conversation terns into more of an interrogation and the insults become more frequent. Her smile seems to melt and the mood begins to change. All the while “Jeanie-O” seems to be getting much closer to Edie. She doesn’t seem very happy, her smiles, if any, seem forced and disappear quickly, but she continues to sit on the bed allowing Chuck’s conduct to continue. She doesn’t defend herself, or get angry, Or leave.
Jeanie-O is almost hugging her now, quietly, and not engaging in what’s being spoken. ‘Jeanie-O’’s pressures are now very apparent. His mission is, it seems, to get on top of Edie before the film runs out. This illuminates an element of fiction as Jeanie-O’s character had been preplanned with certain instructions and character motivation before the film began rolling. The same we can assume for ‘Chuck’ and the same planning behind Chuck’s betrayal of Edie.
Edie on the other hand, she may have began the film acting the part of “Edie Sedgewick”, controlling everything from her beautifully posed body to her ridiculously theatrical speech, could not maintained her character in the end. Through her intense reactions, her faux accent drops, and we see the real-side of Edie. Not only that, we witness a beauty in the revelation of a realness in “Edie Sedgewick”. Perhaps this is why the title of the film is “beauty #2”.
At first I was deeply sympathetic for Edie’s situation. I didn’t like “Jeanie-O”’s presence from the very beginning. I saw Edie as a scared girl under pressure. Her conversation with Chuck was an exit away from the weight of situation, which Jeanie-O imposed. His presence made me feel uncomfortable just as if I was sitting next to some stranger on some bed surrounded by a bunch of people. It sounds like a bad dream. What is especially sad about her situation, is this “bad dream” was brought to life by people she felt very close to. She was cruelly treated and openly humiliated by people who she deeply trusted. I then started to become angry with Edie. Why would she allow to abuse? And then keep allowing it to continue?
Chuck’s insults began to make more sense. His interrogations were pining around the same topics. Topics he probably knew Edie was very self conscious of and for good reason too. They were contradictions in her character she didn’t want people to see. She needed people to see her as “Edie Sedgewhick” a beautiful smart girl, expressing her freedom from rules and structure. Chuck understood her need of approval and identified it directly, something she wasn’t expecting. She takes of her earrings in an attempt to prove she isn’t silly in vanity. She embraces “Jeanie-o”, again to prove she isn’t confined by any “moral” structure.