De-Lovely Review

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Composer Cole Porter looks back on his life as if it were one of his musicals, complete with a full cast of singing and dancing extras. The heart of the story is an unlikely love story of a gay man who was nevertheless married and deeply devoted to his wife.


Swellegant wit and genius songwriter Cole Porter rates a second biopic on the grounds that Night And Day (1946) was absurd – although Porter was tickled to be played by Cary Grant. He mightn't be unhappy with Kevin Kline, either.

But this archly-stylised musical's excruciating device of the angel Gabriel (Jonathan Pryce) taking a dying Porter to a theatre revue of his life – knowing homage to vintage bioflick structure, we hope – is be-laboured.

This time Porter's homosexuality is a Big Deal, but his 38-year marriage to socialite muse Linda Lee (Judd's best performance in years) is the only really moving element. Fortunately, the fabulous songs, performed by scads of contemporary artists, provide some relief in an overlong, overdone portrait.

This laboured biopic of Cole Porter longs to trip gaily across the floor, but it's wearing lead boots. Rich on scenery, it's lacking in insight and just too long.