HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  De-Lovely De Top!
Year: 2004
Director: Irwin Winkler
Stars: Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce, Kevin McNally, Sandra Nelson, Allan Corduner, Peter Polycarpou, Keith Allen, James Wilby, Kevin McKidd, Richard Dillane
Genre: Musical, Drama, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  9 (from 1 vote)
Review: After multiple viewings of De-Lovely I still cannot understand the unanimous negative press that this film has received. This new musical biopic about the life, loves and musical genius of Cole Porter has been heavily criticized for being too "de-pressing" and relying too much on Porter’s music to fill in for plot development. But to blame this film because of such things is almost as equal as criticizing a film about the Holocaust for sensationalizing the role of the Nazis or a film about Jesus Christ for being too violent or for being too depressing.

Cole Porter’s life was what it was and a lot of it consisted of many emotional highs and lows and plenty of music. To remove such elements from a biopic about his life would be as unforgivable as to re-write history for the sake of entertainment. Not surprisingly one of the most negative reviews by The New York Times refers to De-Lovely as “a movie so lifeless and drained of genuine joie de vivre it makes you long for the largely fictional earlier film Night and Day” which “may be factually absurd,'' but “after all, starred Cary Grant.” With that kind of logic towards what makes a good or bad film I’ll take a bad film any day. De-Lovely is not a bad film or an average film. As far as I am concern De-Lovely is a fantastic piece of entertainment that never underestimates it’s audience's intelligence.

De-Lovely comes much closer to capturing the passion and the drama that was Cole Porter's life. It avoids whitewashing the good and bad aspects of the genius of Cole Porter and uses his words and music to enlighten us about his life in an admirable cinematic fashion. Directed by Irwin Winkler with a screenplay by Jay Cocks, De-Lovely differs from the 1940 film Night and Day by acknowledging Porter's homosexuality, his mental depression dulled by drugs and alcohol and by using very carefully Cole Porter’s lyrics to get inside its main protagonists psyche. Porter's love songs were packed with juicy double-entendres, and an appreciation of the erotic life with all of its peaks and valleys. The director and screenwriter cleverly weave these songs as part of the story to move the drama forward.

The film uses the framing device of a fantasy of an aging Cole Porter viewing a stage production of his life with the help of a mysterious stranger named Gabe, a theater director. The movie jumps from Paris in the 1920's, to Venice, Los Angeles, Connecticut and New York. We are introduced to the one true love of his life: his wife which started initially as a marriage of convenience and generated into something deeper but mostly platonic. We follow Porter’s successes, liaisons with other men, marital conflicts, his horse back riding accident and his encounters with depression and the death of loved ones. All along pointed by his music presented in realistic settings, rehearsals, stage productions and fantasy musical numbers. And oh what music we hear!

Over two dozen Porter songs are performed by contemporary singers like Robbie Williams (at the Porter wedding), Elvis Costello (''Let's Misbehave''), Alanis Morissette (''Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love'' as a lead actress in one of Cole’s stage shows), Sheryl Crow (performing an interesting variation in key minor of ''Begin the Beguine'') , Diana Krall (''Just One of Those Things'') and Natalie Cole. My personal favorite being John Barrowman’s rendition of ‘Night and Day’ as Porter has to explain to his star exactly what the song means – romantic obsession.

In "De-Lovely" Porter’s lyrics take on an ambiguity never before explored once you understand that they are not necessarily written about heterosexual love. After we witness one of his many liaisons with men, Porter is seen singing and playing in his piano “It's the wrong game, with the wrong chips… Though your lips are tempting, they're the wrong lips… They're not her lips, but they're such tempting lips…” while his wife stares at him in alienated fashion.

Kevin Kline is spectacular and marvelous as Cole Porter. He buries himself in the role playing his sexual ambiguity with subtlety and intelligence, he is elegant, witty, theatrical and brave in the face of society. His later scenes as the aged and embittered Porter are the film's most emotionally compelling. Ashley Judd, radiates as Linda Porter with charisma and energy looking fabulous in her '20s couture and the always terrific Jonathan Pryce shines as the theatre director in the framing device sequences.

The cinematography is elegant. The musical numbers are cleverly choreographed. The sets, costumes, and locations are all spectacular and the art direction excels in capturing Porter's time and place.

The works of Cole Porter are above the level of standard Hollywood fluff, so no wonder that so many critics misunderstood this film. De-Lovely is not afraid to only examine Porter’s genuine joie de vivre, but also goes down deeper relying on the immortal words of the genius himself to drive the storyline. Porter had a fascinating, complex and also tragic life and De-Lovely is not only afraid to explore that “anything goes” in life but that for every peak there’ s also a valley. This film is wonderful with all of its ambiguities, intelligent with its audience and to quote the genius of Porter is also “De Top!” filmaking.
Reviewer: Pablo Vargas

 

This review has been viewed 8164 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: