Metro-Goldwyn Mayer presents a film directed by Irwin Winkler. Written by Jay Cocks. Music and lyrics by Cole Porter. Running time: 125 minutes. Rated PG-13 (for sexual content).


This film was one of the most surprising disappointments I’ve seen in a while. I wasn’t exactly excited to see this movie, but Kevin Klein and Ashley Judd in a movie about one of the best song writers of our time, Cole Porter, I was at least interested. The film begins in an attempt at being clever and visually and narratively unique. We have old Cole Porter looking back on his life or the telling of his life with a director type, played by the guy who used to tell us all about the new Q 45. This movie prides itself on giving the audience Cole Porter as he was without the Hollywood varnish that was the case in 1946’s Night and Day. It’s this pretentious attitude that makes this shitty film shittier. This film also attempts, I think, to be a musical. I think because almost every single scene in the first half of this film involves Cole Porter sitting at a piano and singing a song and occasionally the rest of the cast joins along with. The half assness of the musical numbers kill this film. Recently musicals have enjoyed a bit of a resurgence thanks to Baz Luhrmann. His Moulin Rouge and even the lesser, though Academy award winning, Chicago were exciting to look at and the musical numbers have a completely unabashed and self indulging flare that make them fun to watch. In De-Lovely the musical numbers seem embarrassed by their own existence. I understand that Cole Porter in reality was not the greatest singer and life isn’t like a musical, but if you are going to make a film you must make a decision. Are you a happy, gay musical? Or are you a searing and atmospherical biopicture? This film wanted to be both and didn’t want to be both and the same time. There was a tug of war happening when there should have been a movie.


Never before have I seen a film fail so much because of the Director. Irwin Winkler has made decent films in the past. A remake of Night and the City, Sandy Bullocks The Net and a really good Kevin Klein film Life as a House. In De-Lovely he shows that he has no idea where to put the camera or how to play the drama and absolutely no control over the material. I’ll give only one example because this movie really just pissed me off. There’s a scene late in the film, after Porter falls off his horse and his legs are crushed. Ashley Judd wheels him over to the piano so that he can get back to work and be happy, but due to his injury he can not push on the pedals. Ashley Judd leaves the room so that she could cry her eyes out and as we watch her gush we hear Klein screaming from the other room “I can’t push the pedals!” This should have been an incredibly hurtful and depressing scene. The way Klein delivers the line and the way we left him in that room, still slightly in an upbeat mood, makes for the movie’s funniest moment. This played like a punch line, I laughed my ass off and then chanted internally “please end” for the next half hour or so until indeed this movie ended.


This movie joins The Bourne Supremacy, Little Black Book and Alien Versus Predator as one of the worst films of the year.


I’ve omitted the fact that the music itself was great because that goes without saying. I also omitted the fact that there are several special musical performance by Alanis Morissette and Robbie Williams and Elvis Costello and Sheryl Crow and Natalie Cole because they aren’t that special.


~ by fumikaelson on August 19, 2004.

3 Responses to “De-Lovely”

  1. So would it be fair to say that you think this is one of “de-worst” movies of the year?

  2. that would be very fair de-say.

  3. that would be very fair de-say.

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