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De-Lovely back to product details

Mr. Porter, I Presume?
written by talltale December 28, 2004 - 10:17 AM PST
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Unlike most movie-musical biographies, DE-LOVELY ranks high. Ignore the critics on this one (ignore them on most, I guess). If you're 50 or over (or count the best Broadway composers on your list of favorites), Cole Porter will be there, and this interesting biography does him and his music justice. If it doesn't always keep to the facts, it seems to me it keeps to the spirit very nicely--and this counts for a lot.

Kevin Kline manages a yeoman job as both the old and middle-aged Porter, and Ashley Judd as Linda Porter is much better than you will have heard (even if the actress is younger and prettier than her real-life counterpart). Unlike the earlier movie bio "Night and Day," "De-Lovely" doesn't skirt the composer's homosexuality, and it makes of the Porter marriage a union that is complicated and sad but also clearly fulfilling in a number of important ways.

Much scorn has been heaped upon the musical numbers and the modern performers who essay them. This is more pompous twaddle from critics who ought to know better. The performers are not of Porter's era, but each one manages to bring something worthwhile to his/her rendition. The songs are great, and you'll know why all over again after hearing each and every one. The way the movie handles "Night and Day," in particular, is brilliant. Sets, costumes, locations and photography are aces all. And the Jonathan Pryce role presents a pleasing framework for cobbling the story together.

Yes, the screenplay does offer up a few too many clichés, but the performers, god bless 'em, sidestep most of these with aplomb--or simply tackle them head-on--and win. Director Irwin Winkler should be proud: This is not a great film, but where it counts most, it's a damn good one.


(Average 5.67)
57 Votes
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