De-Lovely is an original musical portrait of American composer Cole Porter, filled with his unforgettable songs. In the film, Porter is looking back on his life as if it was one of his spectacular stage shows, with the people and events of his life becoming the actors and action onstage. Through elaborate production numbers and popular hits like "Anything Goes," "It's De-Lovely," and "Night and Day," Porter's elegant, excessive past comes to light - including his deeply complicated relationship with his wife and muse, Linda Lee Porter. Written by
I generally hate biographical films and musicals, but this biographical musical is one I really liked. From the beginning with Gabriel (I always love Johnathan Pryce - I never got over "Brazil") and the old Cole Porter together in the empty theatre, I was sold on the film. Sometimes flashbacks annoy me. In this case, the interaction (one-sided, but still there) between the old Cole Porter and his past made the transition to his life magical and fun. It didn't feel like a biographical view of his life.
From the opening scene in the theatre, it just got better as it went along. Kevin Kline's portrayal of Cole Porter was rich and nuanced. He seemed to be truly in love with Linda, yet he still had his other side. Ashley Judd as Linda seemed perfect. When the old Cole Porter sees her again, he says, "My god, she was lovely!" and she was. I identified enough with her and with Kevin Kline that I was saddened by her death in the movie. They sold me on their characters. I ended up feeling empathy for Linda; the lovely, lovable and steadfast; and respect and admiration for the Cole Porter figure.
But, what made the movie fly for me was the music (go figure!). It was Cole Porter, release 1.1. A bunch of his great songs were re-arranged and presented by modern singers - all the way from jazz (Diane Krall) to varieties of pop (Elvis Costello). Each of the singers brought a new feel to the Cole Porter songs and really made the movie a pleasure.
When my wife and I finished the movie on the DVD we spent another hour watching all the special features. We both hated to see the movie end. We just wanted it to go on and on. Like the beat, beat, beat of the tom-tom.........
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