De-Lovely

| July 11, 2004

We saw De-Lovely with a 5:05 PM Saturday evening crowd. Mostly older folk going to the movies before dinner. A perfect target for sure, but being in our age demographics (F 33; F 39; M 44) we truly enjoyed this autobiographical view of Cole Porter. It will be on my list of bests for the year for acting (Kevin Kline), makeup, costume design and best movie.
The movie is shown in flashback, which I generally can not stand but as Porter was one of the greatest of our composers, the method of story telling is grand. We open with Porter being visited by one who we recognize immediately as an angel of death who takes him through his life as if it were one big musical. It is immediately captivating.
It is the story of Porter’s life from when he met his wife, Linda (Ashley Judd from Twisted, High Crimes), through the rise of his career, through his appointment with Gabriel (Jonathan Pryce from The Affair of the Necklace and those cool car commercials) and a review of his life.
It is a not so veiled bisexuality which attracts us to Linda and Cole….. What did they each get from the partnership – what did they give up to have it…. Was it love and how would their relationship last?
From the trailers we know this is the story of Porter and his wife Linda but also to expect wonderful musical performances of his works from current day singers like Alanis Morrissette, Elvis Costello, and Natalie Cole. But the musical highlight is between Kline and John Barrowman who sings Night and Day with the composer. We see in this short and powerful scene, the mind of the writer, transposing his thoughts to the performer, with the homosexual undertones that existed throughout everything Porter wrote – his life and his behavior, he says are one and the same.
This is an adult story for adults. The sexual themes are dealt with not in an obvious visual manner, but allured to in such a way as to be obvious without making you uncomfortable. There is a time period where Linda and Cole are separated that we see him fill the time by attending an original “gentleman’s club” in a scene that is perfectly developed. Director Irwin Winkler who also directed Kline in Life As A House, does a masterful job with the story and tempo and the only thing we were left wanting was more of the beautiful music that is the legacy of Cole Porter. I am giving De-Lovely the highest recommendation.

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