Cole Porter left an indelible mark on the musical landscape of America. Thanks to his movies, plays, and the patronage of great vocalists like Ella Fitzgerald, it's almost impossible to grow up here and not recognize at least a few of his tunes …
"Birds do it, bees do it / Even educated fleas do it / Let's do it, let's fall in love / In Spain, the best upper sets do it / Lithuanians and Letts do it / Let's do it, let's fall in love." When you're humming that tune later on today you can blame me.
De-Lovely pays lively tribute to this music and the man who created it. It unfolds as an elderly Porter (Kevin Kline) sits in a darkened theater with a man named Gabriel who is directing the story of his life on the stage in front of them. De-Lovely employs an inventive combination of form and substance that jumps from song and dance numbers on the simple set in front of the pair, to parties in Paris, to Broadway rehearsals and back to Porter and Gabriel in the dark theater for commentary.
"If I believed in God, he'd have to be a song and dance man. He'd have to carry a tune, preferably one of mine." Porter was rarely shy about his own talents.
The movie follows the arc of Porter's relationship with his wife of 35 years, Linda (Ashley Judd). Theirs was an unconventional union given that they shared an informal understanding that Cole would continue to pursue gay sex even after their marriage. He had firmly established his bisexuality on the Paris party circuit circa 1920, but he was taken with Linda and she with him. From his seat in the audience, the elderly Porter insists that their marriage wasn't one of convenience as history suggests. "The physical side, well, we could take it or leave it. It was pleasurable enough, but ...1
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