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An original musical portrait of one of the world’s greatest songwriters, American composer Cole Porter, filled with his unforgettable songs. In the film, Porter is looking back on his life as if it was one of his spectacular stage shows, with the people and events of his life becoming the actors and action onstage.
PROFANITY: 2 GD's, a few others. SEX/NUDITY: Little actual sex, but lots of sexual themes, including homosexuality. VIOLENCE: One violent fall. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Lots of alcohol and tobacco. ACTION: None. COMEDY: Some physical comedy and wisecracks.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Good "De-Lovely" seems a little long, and there are times when it moves slowly. On the whole, however, it's an enjoyable experience, with the level of enjoyment influenced by how much a viewer knows and enjoys Porter's music. The love story is touching, but not out of the ordinary. It's at least strong enough to hold our interest until the next musical number comes along - which is never more than a few minutes away.
Roger EbertFull Review Very Good "De-Lovely" is a musical and a biography, and brings to both of those genres a worldly sophistication that is rare in the movies. "De-Lovely" not only accepts Porter's complications, but bases the movie on them; his lyrics take on a tantalizing ambiguity once you understand that they are not necessarily written about love with a woman...
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1964. A dying Cole Porter sits alone in his New York apartment, playing the piano and
picking out a familiar, melancholy tune. Suddenly a mysterious stranger appears – Gabe – who
transports Cole to an empty theater where Gabe is directing what becomes a stage version of
Cole's life story. All the key figures from his past appear onstage to re-enact his life – lovers,
colleagues, friends, and, most importantly, his wife, Linda. Scene one begins…
In a Paris salon in the 1920s, Cole meets Linda for the first time. They fall in love
immediately, admiring each other's grace and beauty and enjoying one another's witty company
at the glittering parties of the Jazz Age. Linda sees genius in Porter's songs and is willing to
maintain that genius at all costs – she loves his talent as much as she loves him. Porter sees in
Linda a steadfast companion and indulgent supporter of his work and lifestyle, someone who
sees who he really is and still loves him. They get married despite Cole's warnings that he won't
be able to completely fulfill her. She doesn't mind – and is fully aware of his affairs with men –
but tells him as long as he's there for her and loves her she can live with that knowledge.
Throughout the marriage, Cole is torn between the very genuine love he feels for Linda
and his love of wild parties, drink, and handsome men. As Cole's fame begins to grow, and with
each successive theatrical hit, Linda becomes increasingly concerned that the balance in their
lives is tipping in favor of the high life. When she miscarries their long hoped for baby, they
decide to move to Hollywood to make a new start. Feted by studio chief L.B. Mayer during
MGM's golden age, Cole writes uninspired but commercially successful film musicals.
Cole's very public cavorting around town (and a subsequent threat of blackmail) causes
Linda to leave Cole and return to Paris. While horseback riding one morning, feeling carefree
and over-confident, Cole lets his horse gallop away uncontrollably. The horse falls, throwing
Cole, then crashing down on top of him, leading to severe injuries which will affect him the rest
of his life. Linda returns from Paris to look after him and is told by the doctor that amputating
one or maybe even both legs is the best solution. She tells the doctor with certainty that Cole
would rather live in pain and on constant medication than have the shame of losing his legs.
With his pride intact, he might be able to overcome the pain and continue working – if he can't
write music, then his life is not worth living.
Cole and Linda move to the peace and quiet of Williamstown where he writes
unsatisfying stage musicals. Undeterred by this, nor by the unbearable agony of his condition,
Cole sets to work on what will become his greatest hit during his lifetime: "Kiss Me, Kate.” At
the musical's opening night, Cole receives overwhelming applause – but Linda is forced to stay
at their home, suffering from a fatal illness and missing her beloved's greatest triumph.
As Linda utters her final words to Cole, they talk of their love for each other. Despite the
many obstacles along the way and Cole's regret he could never make her happy enough, their
love is as pure and tender as when they first met. After Linda's funeral, Cole sits in the music
room of their house with his closest friends, referencing his relationships through his songs. The
stage version of Cole's life which he's been helping to direct with Gabe merges together with the
stories in his head, and once again all the characters from his life are present, singing together
Suddenly Cole is alone again, an old, disabled man in his dark New York apartment.
Still searching for that quintessential love song – one that can finally express how he feels about
Linda – Cole sits at the piano and starts to play "In the Still of the Night” softly to himself. A