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Parents' Guide to

De-Lovely

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

The music is de-lovely, but not much else is.

Movie PG-13 2004 125 minutes
De-Lovely Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 18+

Based on 1 parent review

age 18+

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: Cole Porter's life, as depicted in "DeLovely." The critics I've read on this site didn't "get" the real Porter -- what motivated and influenced his songs, besides the amazing wit. His relationships with men and women were a mystery. It was a conflict that lay at the core of many of his songs. You don't put all that to one side, while you wait for the movie to get back on track with those great production numbers. The paradox of love was an intrinsic part of Cole's life, and influenced many of his lyrics. Read Roger Ebert ye critics.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: July 1, 2004
  • On DVD or streaming: December 5, 2023
  • Cast: Ashley Judd , Jonathan Pryce , Kevin Kline
  • Director: Irwin Winkler
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: MGM/UA
  • Genre: Musical
  • Run time: 125 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sexual content
  • Last updated: December 6, 2023

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