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Fortunately, I was able to purchase a VHS copy of De-Lovely, as I missed the film when it was playing at the local cinema. I must admit that it was well-done. Kevin Kline was very good as Porter, and Ashley Judd was delightful as his wife, Linda. I loved the Venice scenery. The dance numbers were well done. And as a former costumer, I found the film's costumes to be great! The relationship between Cole and Linda was tastefully done. I had seen Kevin McNally in "Pirates" and enjoyed him in this role, as well. My first costuming job was with a small theater group in New York, working on a musical, based on Cole Porter's songs. Therefore, I enjoy being "reintroduced" to his music. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie!
The story and many of the songs are well done, but there are some
clinkers for Porter fans.
Sheryl Crow's rendition of "Begin the Beguine" is horrendous. This is in no way "soul singing". She sings the whole thing off key and with no recognizable tempo. This was one of Porter's own three favorites of his songs, the others being "Love For Sale" and "Night and Day".
And what was the story behind "True Love"? Kevin Kline as Porter has a pained expression on his face as he observes its performance.
Otherwise, this WAS Porter's life -- songwriting for shows and movies with lots and lots of parties and travel to exotic places with exotic people.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The film shows Porter looking back on his life as if it was a stage
show. As such, it's highly stylized and wonderfully visual. Indeed, one
of my favourite moments is when Porter instructs a singer who is having
difficulty with the song "Night and Day", because of both the words and
the passion with which the instruction is given.
But mostly, the movie tells the story of Porter's relationship with his wife Linda. Although Porter was mostly gay, the marriage is portrayed as the most important relationship in his life, whereas the relationship with Bill in his later life is almost dismissed, perhaps even portrayed as opportunistic. Indeed, there's a line later in the film where someone says to Bill, "this wouldn't have happened if Linda was here". In some respects, Linda is a little too perfect, a little too accommodating of Porter's sex life with men, while he remains the celibate mostly-adoring wife. If the relationship was like that, fine, but if it wasn't, I think it's a flaw in the movie.
Nonetheless, Ashlea Judd's portrayal of Linda is terrific. And even though I don't normally like Kevin Kline, his performance is also very good. There's only one or two scenes when Kevin Klein plays Kevin Klein.
Mostly the music is incorporated into the film brilliantly, although there are moments when I thought the inclusion of a line was strained, such as when Linda dies, when the following lyric appears
Ev'ry time we say goodbye I die a little, Ev'ry time we say goodbye I wonder why a little, Why the gods above me Who must be in the know Think so little of me They allow you to go...
It was just a little too much.
The movie's end is sad, but not sentimental. I don't think it's a spoiler to say "he dies at the end"
Recommended, but not a "must see".
"De-Lovely" is an expansive, enveloping, highly engaging salute to the life of Cole Porter. If you enjoy Cole's inventive and irreverent songs, and appreciate the talents of Kevin Kline, this film should be pure pleasure.
The story of Cole's life is told as a flashback in tableau style . This device has been criticized but it worked for me, especially as the film progressed. Special kudos go to the work of the cinematographer, the costume designers, and particularly the make-up crew whose work as the characters aged is superb.
Vignettes from Cole's life in Paris, Venice, Hollywood are mixed with various performers singing Cole's songs, each with their own interpretative styles. Where were "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "I've Got You Under My Skin"? And I fear Cole would shudder to hear Sheryl Crow's "Begin the Beguine" - the beat was such an important part of his music.
The intimate supportive relationship of Cole and Linda, his wife of 35 years, is at the heart of this story. She gives him the stability and the encouragement he craves. Cole's need for men in his life is accepted by Linda, until he tests her limits. Ashley Judd as Linda is surprisingly good and she looks stunning in the wardrobe designed for her.
What more can be said about the talents of Kevin Kline? His singing, dancing, piano playing add layers to the richness of this film. Kevin's charms are Cole's charms. Porter was also somewhat aloof, conflicted, possessed of a certain sadness, and his songs with all of their gaiety also reflect an undertow of sorrow and unrequited passion. Kevin portrayed Cole as exuberant, honest, open, vulnerable, bitter. He is absolutely perfect as Cole.
Applause followed the screening I saw. All of my friends have loved this film. And stay for the credits, you will hear Cole himself singing "You're The Top"!!
I went and saw this in the theatre with three other people and we all agreed it was beyond excellent! A great story, superb music, touching performances, what more could you want? Kevin Kline unquestionably deserves an Oscar nomination, and Ashley Judd has probably been waiting her whole career for a role like this. The film is a celebration of Cole and Linda Porter's decidedly non-traditional marriage. The story seems to operate on the premise that sexual chemistry is not a necessary requirement of ones soulmate. The tribute is as much to Linda, if not moreso, as Cole. The film successfully portrays the sacrifices she made in order to have the color he brought to her life. The contemporary music stars from various genres do well interpreting his lyrics, adding some fun for the audience spotting them. Anyone who doesn't like there singing I think is looking too hard for flaws. That goes for the whole film, in fact. I would seriously question anyone who didn't like it, even though it drags out the melodrama in its final few scenes. But after being treated to such a wonder spectacle, I didn't mind indulging the director in a little tearjerking. The sets and costumes are divine, and the final shot of the movie is too sweet to describe. Hats off to EVERYONE involved in the making of this film.
"Delovely", the new bio of Cole Porter has been out a month, and I was told
that it has been roundly panned by the film critics (I haven't read any
reviews of it myself). Nevertheless, at least in Montclair, NJ, it has
staying power and the theatre was almost sold out tonight. Word of mouth
still sometimes trumps bad reviews.
Well, my word of mouth also begs to differ from the bad notices in the press (if I were still reviewing movies, it would have been a case of me versus the consensus, not the first time).
First off, it's almost unimaginable that a movie packed with Cole Porter's music could be bad, and this film delivers on the musical front. I was told that the critics didn't like the renditions by some of the current music stars featured in the film, for example, Sheryl Crowe doing "Begin the Beguine." Nonetheless, I was more moved by this version of the song than any previous rendition of it that I've heard.
My Mother-in-law, who saw the film with us, found the last third or so too sentimental, but that didn't bother me either -- I thought the sentimentality was earned and honest, and that makes all the difference to me.
The structure as a biography is a bit unconventional: Porter apparently at the time of his death having a look back at his life with a director, "Gabe" (for the angel 'Gabriel') creating Porter's life as a piece of theatre. (The finale, of course, has to be "Blow Gabriel, Blow".) This artiface makes for a little more intrigue than a straight (no pun intended) biographical format.
Which segues to Porter's complex sexuality, completely sanitized in the original Hollywood Porter bio, "Night and Day." The timing is eerie, with NJ Governor McGreevey's recent announcement about his sexual preferences. One could almost imagine the same kinds of struggles and accommodations in McGreevey's life. Maybe this topical connection might give "Delovely" new legs with the viewing public.
Now if McGreevey had made his announcement at the time the film was first put into theatrical release, maybe it would have been a big hit, the way the new "Manchurian Candidate" resonates with the current political season. But the latter, of course, was expected, and McGreevey's announcement was not.
Some of us remember the sanitized version of Cole Porter's life, Night and Day, rather fondly. To paraphrase a line from De Lovely, you can't do much better than being played by Cary Grant. This version of Porter's life, however, is more "truthful," yet it still works as a romantic love story. Kevin Kline has never been better. I cannot imagine he will not get an Oscar nomination. Ashley Judd is "all grown up" and giving what I think is the best performance of her career. The supporting cast of lesser knowns is excellent. And the music -- well, it's Cole Porter. Hard to walk out of the theatre not singing. And while De Lovely is romantic, it is not romanticized. It rings true and touching and is an all together satisfying film.
In the early l980s there was a Spanish film titled TO BEGIN AGAIN in
which the score was made up of possibly every record ever recorded of
Cole Porter's "Begin the Beguine." And each of them was wonderful
because the song itself is so wonderful. But in DE-LOVELY Sheryl Crowe
in a ludicrous performance doubtlessly choreographed by a drunken
snakedancer gave this song a performance that must have Cole Porter
rolling over and screaming in his grave. I nearly did so in the theatre
tonight. The whole arrangement was stupid and one needs to wonder if
Winkler, a producer of good taste, has had severe hearing loss and
However, God bless all concerned for producing the film with all its shortcoming. Many of the numbers were far more enjoyable than the hyped efforts in CHICAGO and just to hear Porter's music makes it all worth while.
As a bio it was far from accurate and while taking literary licenses why not cut down on all the smoking, which may have been accurate for the period but was not needed in the volume presented in this film. I left the theatre with psychosomatic sinusitis and lung cancer.
This is not generally a movie I would chose to see but I was outvoted by the
group and "dragged" (hardly!) to see it. I had no idea who Cole Porter was
but as soon as I heard the first song, I realized I knew much of the
This lovely film shows us Porter's life put to his music, literally "the music of my life". In itself, the story is better than fiction. No one could have written a better inner struggle and wonderful yet painful love story. To add, the acting here is very, very good and both Kline and Judd deliver truly believable performances.
If the divine music isn't enough, worry not. This film is also brimming with cameo appearances by some of music's top performers including Robbie Williams, Elvis Costello, Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Diana Krall to list just a few.
8/10 A truly lovely film and probably the best "musical"-drama of the year.
This movie was confusing. I never really figured out what was going
I'm not sure how much was made up and how much was history
It was kind of like a musical revue, with snippets of different songs in different settings that were supposed to make up a coherent emotional journey, and only sort of succeeded.
But the acting was well-done, especially Kevin Kline, although his portrayal was similar to a lot of other characters he's played. Ashley Judd was totally believable, and the guest singers didn't seem out of place either. (I thought the cameos would be distracting, but everyone sang really well, and not obviously anachronistically.)
The only really good thing about this movie is the music. Cole Porter was truly inspired. The next best thing about the movie is the emotions portrayed, which although they don't really fit into a sensical plot of sorts, certainly helped to enhance the enjoyment of the music. The sets were also quite beautiful to look at, and again provided an apt setting for the main attraction of this movie - the songs.
However, if I ever get the urge to see a movie highlighting Cole Porter's compositions again, I'll take Kiss Me Kate, Night and Day, or any of the other classics over De-Lovely.
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