De-lovely

This morning I went to a preview of the new movie about the life of Cole Porter called, De-lovely.

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”.

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