De-Lovely and Blogging Movies

I forget movies, sometimes not able to remember if I have seen one or not. Really good ones I do, at least, remember seeing. But I don’t always remember the details. So I will store my memories here so I can return to them. You can read my first movie blog here.

Be forewarned: there are probably spoilers here if you know nothing about Cole Porter or his life. But geez, this isn’t like a murder mystery or something. He dies in the end. Actually, I think he’s dead in the beginning because he’s with an angel.

Mary and I watched De-Lovely recently on DVD. It’s the Cole Porter biography starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. It’s nicely done and we both enjoyed it. I would rate it higher than Beyond the Sea.

Like Beyond the Sea, it has the main character (Cole) looking back over his life. In De-Lovely, he is joined by what I assume is an angel (he’s named Gabe). They watch Cole’s life play itself out on a stage. (Beyond the Sea had the child Bobby Darin as life analyst.) In the old days, biographies would take narrative form and start at the beginning and go to the end. Now we have to analyze. De-Lovely’s method works better than Beyond the Sea’s because Jonathan Pryce who plays Gabe the angel is very charming.

Cole and his wife, Linda Porter (Ashley Judd), were very sophisticated. She married him knowing that he liked to fool around with guys more than with women. They weren’t sophisticated enough to make this work, however. So they drifted apart then together again near the end of her life. (She seems to have died of lung cancer although I don’t think anyone ever said the words “lung cancer.”) She found an interior designer for him to act as his companion after she was gone.

There are some very cool parties where everyone sings together as if they are in a musical. I think this was artistic license but maybe sophisticated people really did have parties like this.

OK. I did like it and Mary liked it too and she is much harder to please. (As a marker, consider I just finished watching six DVDs of 24 from last season.) Porter wrote some really great songs and they are performed by the likes of Diana Krall (“Just One of Those Things”), Natalie Cole (“Ev’ry Time You Say Goodbye”), Cheryl Crow (“Begin the Beguine”), Alanis Morissette ( “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love”) and Elvis Costello (“Let’s Misbehave”). Costello’s performance was my favorite but I’m a big fan of his already.

De-Lovely is a good story about a particular social class at a particular time in our history. It’s about the music business and about Hollywood and about Broadway. It’s about class as it existed then as I don’t think it exists in the same way now. I don’t relate to the people personally but I liked the story, I liked the way it was told, and I liked Kline and Judd. Definitely worth seeing.


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