Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    100
    This is the portrait of a marriage as full and enviable as the greatest unions in literature.
  2. 100
    A celebration -- of love, commitment and devotion until the bitter end. Gay and straight viewers alike are sure to be inspired by this lyrical testament to a corollary of Tolstoy's famous dictum: Every unhappy family might be unhappy in its own way, but every genuinely happy family is a triumph.
  3. Even a klutz could hardly make a bad movie about these compelling figures. Thankfully though, Guido Santi and Tina Mascara are superb filmmakers, fully alive in their terrific film Chris & Don: A Love Story to all the undercurrents of art, social class, sexual orientation, challenging relationships and, most especially, the touching love story at the heart of their film.
  4. Chris & Don is the rarest of documentaries: a realistic portrait of the human spirit.
  5. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    90
    With his elegant cadence, crisp comedic timing, and witty flipping of homophobic stereotypes--in his very choice and use of language--Bachardy is that story come to life: the student who eventually mirrored his teacher, the molded who became a duplicate of the mold.
  6. The elegantly structured documentary weaves extensive footage of Mr. Bachardy rummaging through their house and reminiscing with readings from Isherwood's diaries by Michael York, old interviews with Isherwood, home movies of their travels and glamorous social life, and commentary by friends, including Leslie Caron and the British filmmaker John Boorman.
  7. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    88
    A fascinating documentary, one much better than its rather flat and unimaginative title.
  8. Their love story was inevitably complicated. And so is the documentary Chris & Don: A Love Story -- not simply a love letter to love -- by Guido Santi and Tina Mascara.
  9. 83
    Describing the early stages of their sexual attraction, Bachardy sums up the whole outrageously fortunate arc of his life. "It was exactly what the boy wanted," Bachardy says. "And he flourished."
  10. 80
    To describe the novelist's final days, Bachardy opens a drawer and begins pulling out the magnificent deathbed drawings he did of Isherwood -- a fusion of art and love that's deeply moving.
  11. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    80
    Though drawn together by the thrill of infatuation, fostered by Isherwood's penchant for emergent male youth and Bachardy's awe of fame and glitz, the pair developed a durable love strengthened by nurturing and patience. In recounting this journey, directors Guido Santi and Tina Mascara make rich use of the couple's glamorous home movies.
  12. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    80
    Intimate, moving and playful.
  13. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    80
    Made with gentle grace and sensitivity.
  14. 75
    You wind up caring deeply about the affair that began in the 1950s between American teenager Don Bachardy and three-decades-older Christopher Isherwood, the noted British author whose "Berlin Stories" inspired "Cabaret."
  15. 75
    An affecting and beautifully realized documentary.
  16. In part, the documentary answers the question of why some couples flourish and others flounder.
  17. 70
    Becomes more engrossing as its focus shifts from Isherwood to Bachardy, who began as the bashful boy toy of a famous author but gradually emerged in his own right as a portrait artist of striking (and merciless) insight.
  18. It closes the film in what I suspect was intended as something of a happy ending, but it’s unnecessary: Thirty happy years should be happy ending enough.
  19. 63
    As loving and welcome as Chris & Don is, it's not well enough conceived to create equilibrium among its many parts.

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