Movie Information

In Brief: When De-Lovely came out in late summer 2004, I compared it to Peter Bogdanovich's At Long Last Love (1975) in the sense of it being another grand folly inspired by the music of Cole Porter. That remains true, though Bogdanovich fares better in that he wasn't making a biopic and has more style than producer-turned-director Irwin Winkler. (Every few years, Winkler seems to get the directing bug, though it's been 10 years since his last bout. Just as well.) As biopics go, this one is at least a little more creative than most. And it certainly has more to do with Porter than 1946's Night and Day, which, of course, ignored the fact that Porter was gay. Movie-critic-turned-screenwriter Jay Cocks cooked up a witty conceit worthy of Porter himself when he decided to present the composer’s life as a series of theatrical events being watched by Porter (Kevin Kline) himself at the hour of his own death. Porter does so in the company of a mysterious figure called Gabe (Jonathan Pryce), who stage manages what the songwriter and the audience see of the life and works of Cole Porter. “This is one of those avant-garde things,” Porter complains when the tour of his life starts off all wrong by breaking the cardinal musical rule of never opening a show with a ballad, thereby prompting a shift in gears to “Anything Goes.” It’s a brilliant moment — of theater and film all at once — in a movie boasting quite a few of them. Just not enough to be really successful.
Genre: Musical-Biopic
Director: Irwin Winkler
Starring: Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce, Kevin McNally, Allan Corduner, Sandra Nelson
Rated: PG-13

The Hendersonville Film Society will show De-Lovely Sunday, June 5, at 2 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community (behind Epic Cinemas), 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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