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. 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."
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 63
    As loving and welcome as Chris & Don is, it's not well enough conceived to create equilibrium among its many parts.
  5. Chris & Don is the rarest of documentaries: a realistic portrait of the human spirit.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. In part, the documentary answers the question of why some couples flourish and others flounder.
  9. 75
    An affecting and beautifully realized documentary.
  10. 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.
  11. 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."
  12. 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.
  13. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Intimate, moving and playful.
  14. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    Made with gentle grace and sensitivity.
  15. 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.
  16. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    This is the portrait of a marriage as full and enviable as the greatest unions in literature.
  17. Reviewed by: Sid Smith
    A fascinating documentary, one much better than its rather flat and unimaginative title.
  18. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    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.
  19. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    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.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 1 out of 3
  1. AdiZ
    Jun 10, 2009
    I watched it 3 times and could not get over how charming Don was-even in his 70ties he was so alive and articulate about his experiences with Chris- I loved their home and how organized Don was, and the artistic charm of the whole movie. Tried to find out what don is doing now,there was nothing about him on the enternet...disappointing. Full Review »
  2. Craig
    Jul 23, 2008
    The film was well done, but the whole time it kept reminding me that this wasn't a touching love story, but a story of one man taking advantage of a young man who was almost a boy. It left me with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Full Review »
  3. MarkH.
    Jun 28, 2008
    Excellent work, both interesting and touching, yet humorous and compelling in its treatment of a very delicate subject. I hope to see future projects by Guido Santi and Tina Mascara - they are true filmmaking artists. With their talents, they should not be limited to documentaries and I hope to one day see how they apply their sensitivities and creativity to a full length feature film. Full Review »