Divorced working woman Alex and well-to-do Jewish family doctor Daniel Hirsh share not only the same answering service but also the favours of young Bob Elkin who bed-hops between them as ... See full summary »
Young, attractive and vivacious, model Diana Scott is firmly decided to become rich and famous as well. To succeed, she does not hesitate to take bold steps. After a while, she literally strikes gold: she meets Robert Gold, a well-known TV journalist, who not only introduces her into new social and professional circles, but also abandons his family to live with her. Diana seems to have happily combined success and love. However, in those roaring sixties, others are ready to offer her even more money, fame, and, seemingly, fun than Robert can... Written by
Eduardo Casais <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A real masterwork that lets Christie shine and peels mid-60s b&w London
A black and white, Mod London romance and its aftermath, over and over, with all the tumult and glitz of the times. The events race forward and create a real tornado of activity, centering around one woman, Diana Scott, who is perfectly played by Julie Christie. Diana is as charming and beautiful as the actress who plays her, and she is drawn to men, to the movies, to modeling, and generally to success and ruin, up and down, in a wild ride.
British movies had a vigorous neo-realism (British New Wave) movement in the late 50s and early 60s, and by the time of this film it had segued into a purely celebratory pop mode, cashing in on the times, and the British Invasion in music. "Darling" is kind of in both worlds, I think, the same way the 1964 "A Hard Days Night" is in both, though they are very different films. But there is a frankness to the filming that belies the (at first) entertaining and largely fictional subject. And unlike the earlier neo-real innovators ("Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner" etc.), the focus here is on a privileged class, and on the rising fortunes of Diana as she moves from one relationship to another.
The filming gives these seemingly flighty, alternately glib and sad events a somberness they need. Director John Schlesinger was a British New Wave upstart, and would later do the American masterpiece "Midnight Cowboy," which might be said to have the same mixture of inventive fiction and believable raw realism.
Diana is a superficial woman who cashes in on her good looks and fun temperament, and her many men never seem to mind at first. She leads, but she also get towed along, falling in love, never seeming to be quite as happy as she should. Indeed, the movie begins with her explaining through a voice-over her inner yearning for what matters in life, since it's so hard to otherwise tell. Toward the end, in Italy (after England and France had been exhausted), she says to her newest man, "If I could just feel complete." And she means it. But then, in the next scenes, she's having fun again, telling lies and losing her bearings.
Christie is a marvel, really, even though you might just say she's playing herself (though not acting out the events in her life, we hope). This is her breakout film (along with her next film, "Dr. Zhivago"), and she really does typify the Mod English girl, fresh and carefree. There is even a very brief nude shot, from behind, that is a sign of mid-60s liberation in both life and in filmmaking. Dirk Bogarde is certainly excellent, too, and subtle, and indeed the whole cast is first rate, maybe because everyone is playing their contemporary selves with fictional names.
So the movie is terrific, even if it sometimes seems to keep meandering through the paces over the whole two hours. It wraps you in its world. Inevitably the outcome is as somber as the greys of the filming. What else would happen to someone who can't find love, or happiness, or meaning? It's impossible to really feel complete, as a person, if you search outside yourself too much, and hers is a superficial world of her own making, Diana is a superficial woman with lots of unexplored depth.
The writing here is totally first rate, the filming is first rate, the editing and pace first rate. It's simply a well made movie about a contemporary dilemma. "Thank God it's never too late," she says at the end, and in fact you know that she should really say, "God, everything stays the same." I don't think there is meant to be an echo here of Grace Kelly in particular, but there is a similar arc to Diana's career (and her name, of course, predicts a later Princess Diana). Diana's apparent sexual freedom is laden with that old convention of marriage (which she early on wisely says she doesn't want) and so some extent she can be a freewheeling young woman partly because she is always taken care of, and increasingly so. An interesting take on whether this is an accurate picture at all of the times is in this short apolitical article: www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=10813.
This movie ranks, for me, almost up there with "Alfie" and "Georgie Girl" (two of my favorites) as a look at the times in England. Honest, sometimes disturbing, and artistically considered. Don't miss it.
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