De-Lovely

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
De-Lovely Movie Poster Image
The music is de-lovely, but not much else is.
  • PG-13
  • 2004
  • 125 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A lot of drinking and smoking.

What 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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycrystalaforce April 9, 2008
Adult Written byLeslie G. November 27, 2017

What most reviewers, except Roger Ebert, missed by a country mile.

From 18 on (you can get drafted at this age, and drink legally in New York), young adults should not be patronised, or given mis-information. Case in point: C... Continue reading
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 shou... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love musicals

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