De-Lovely Movie Poster Image

De-Lovely

(i)

 

The music is de-lovely, but not much else is.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence

Tense and sad scenes, horseback-riding accident, sad death.

Sex

Explicit sexual situations and references for a PG-13.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A lot of drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has explicit sexual references for a PG-13. A theme of the movie is Porter's life as a semi-closeted gay man and the stress this put on his relationship with his wife. There is also a reference to a miscarriage (including some blood), the (offscreen) death of a child, and severe injury resulting from a horseback-riding accident. Characters drink and smoke a great deal (one dies of emphysema).

What's the story?

In DE-LOVELY, an aging Cole Porter (Kevin Kline) looks back on his life. Based on the real life story of the famed songwriter, it shows his meeting of his wife Linda (Ashley Judd) and their marriage. The movie also delves into Porter's homosexuality and the effects that had on his marriage.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

On the asset side, we have the glorious songs of Cole Porter, the most urbane and elegant composer-lyricist of the 20th century. He's the top. And we have suitably elegant and urbane production design, with sets and costumes that help to tell the story. Unfortunately, we also have a script that keeps getting in the way of the story. Yes, I know that the previous attempt to film Porter's life was 1946's highly fictionalized Night and Day, with Cary Grant (Porter's own choice) playing the lead. But the fact that the first movie left out Porter's homosexuality is not a reason to make it the main theme of this version. The over-emphasis of Porter's sexual orientation in this film goes past disproportionality into the category of weirdly obsessive. All right, he was gay. But what about all the other things we'd like to know?

The music is, well, de-lovely. But the numbers are not well handled. Perhaps in an attempt to follow in the tradition of Oscar-winning hit Chicago, the songs are pointedly, even ham-handedly intended to comment on the events of Porter's life, which is not inaccurate in showing which songs were written when but also diminishes the songs' ability to tell their own story. Too many of the songs are given to Kline, a gifted musician and singer who went for authenticity (Porter was not a good singer) instead of musicality. For the rest of the songs, there is some stunt casting of pop stars, and most of them do very well. Alanis Morrisette's Olive Oyl get-up and reedy, Bjork-ish rendition of "Let's Do It" does not work as well as the smooth and smoky "Begin the Beguine" by Sheryl Crow, the silky Diana Krall's "Just One of Those Things," and the mischievous "Let's Misbehave" by Elvis Costello. But even the best of these renditions, the highlight of the movie, are spoiled with too many cuts. Just buy the soundtrack CD instead.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what drew Cole and Linda to each other. What did each of them want from the relationship? What did each of them get? Families may want to discuss Cole's bitterness at the end of his life. Would he have been so bitter if he had spent more of his time differently? What do people have to do to maintain a sense of satisfaction and the ability to continue to develop relationships with others at the end of their lives?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 1, 2004
DVD/Streaming release date:December 21, 2004
Cast:Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce, Kevin Kline
Director:Irwin Winkler
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Musical
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content

This review of De-Lovely was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Emotional J.M. Barrie biopic has some mature themes.
  • Graphic biopic of artist Frida Kahlo.
  • Dazzling musical romance has innuendo, mature themes.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written bycrystalaforce April 9, 2008
Teen, 15 years old Written byKevinKlinelover March 30, 2011
I love this movie, It makes me think of the 20th century. I never knew what it was until I saw this. It was so entertaining. I would highly recommend it. I mean It's just nice to see Cole Porter's Life but with all of this gay stuff going on, It's just for audiences for ages 13 + for me.
What other families should know
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

Incredible

I mean I can't be the only kid to have seen this movie. It's a beautiful take on Cole Porter's life, now I do understand he is gay, but that should not be an issue for any of you. If it is I am ashamed, appauled, and most importantly disgusted. Granted, yes, there are many sexual scenes but nothing that should turn you away from something like this wonderful movie.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?