Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33
  1. The movie is remarkably touching and engrossing, with Kline's spot-on acting and realistically second-rate singing balancing Judd's one-note performance as his wife.
  2. 88
    A musical and a biography, and brings to both of those genres a worldly sophistication that is rare in the movies.
  3. De-Lovely is something dishy and rare: a biopic about a happy, and even enchanted, man.
  4. Flies so gallantly in the face of what's supposed to work at the movies these days that you just have to love it.
  5. 75
    At its best, De-Lovely evokes a time, a place and a sound with stylish wit and sophistication.
  6. Kline, though, does give one of the great movie performances of the year so far.
  7. This intelligent, postmodern biography from director Irwin Winkler and screenwriter Jay Cocks uses Porter's songs, by turns haunting and hilarious, to decode and reconstruct a life hinted at in the familiar words and music.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Turns out to be thoughtful, creative, and generally worthy of its subject, with sins that are more of ambition and miscalculation than of execution.
  9. 75
    As a bio-pic, De-Lovely is pretty standard, run-of-the-mill stuff (albeit with an interesting framing device). However, as a "best hits" collection of Cole Porter's music, it is unparalleled.
  10. A sprightly musical revue built around Cole Porter songs and a few biographical tidbits culled from his extraordinary life.
  11. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Benefits greatly from Kevin Kline's outstanding performance as the ultra-sophisticated songwriter whose resilient marriage anchored a complicated double life.
  12. Affectionate but uninsightful biopic.
  13. There are terrific performances from Kline and Judd, some breathtaking staging and production design, and, of course, some of the best music and lyrics of the 20th century.
  14. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    De-Lovely has its moments of delight. Its defects lie mostly in failing to fully delineate what made musical icon Cole Porter tick.
  15. Reviewed by: Laine Ewen
    Though director Irwin Winkler takes pains to accurately present Cole's life (unlike "Night and Day," the 1946 biopic starring Cary Grant), the film has its shortcomings. First of which is pushing the love story, when it's clear Linda's feelings aren't reciprocated.
  16. Ultimately, it's the songs that energize this highlight, and lowlight, reel; you may forget the movie when you walk out of the theater, but you will do so while humming the soundtrack.
  17. 50
    There are not enough thrilling musical interludes, and few come close to capturing the sly joy in Porter's music.
  18. 50
    Twinkles and glows, but all the surface razzle-dazzle fails to mask the emptiness at its core.
  19. A mishmash of a musical. The movie never gels -- despite Kline's nuanced performance, the stars' exquisite period clothes, designed by Armani, and, of course, Porter's great songs.
  20. De-Lovely gets hold of a few long-obscured facts but utterly loses the sense of life between the two world wars. I suppose that's progress, of a sort.
  21. 50
    The resulting awkward, earthbound mishmash thoroughly overshadows Judd and Kline's authentically moving performances.
  22. Just because Cole Porter's biography was botched and airbrushed in "Night and Day," starring Cary Grant, doesn't mean De-Lovely, which is up-front about Porter's homosexuality, is a whole lot better.
  23. 50
    If you're a Cole Porter fan you might like the songs in De-Lovely, but as a portrait of an unusual marriage it's de-lumbering, de-liberate and de-cidedly flat.
  24. 50
    If Porter's songs are so timeless, why does the movie sound like something that might have played on VH1 five years ago?
  25. A movie so lifeless and drained of genuine joie de vivre it makes you long for the largely fictional earlier film.
  26. 50
    No movie with access to the Cole Porter songbook could be a complete waste of time, but this biopic of the great tunesmith by producer-director Irwin Winkler is all upholstery and no chair.
  27. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Fortunately, the fabulous songs, performed by scads of contemporary artists, provide some relief in an overlong, overdone portrait.
  28. 40
    Openly gay and overwhelmingly glum.
  29. Despite a subject of immense potential -- the movie's surprisingly uninvolving.
  30. 38
    This new version may be closer to the Cole Porter biography, but it's hardly any more true to life. There is no life in this movie. It's a brittle contraption of a biopic.
  31. Something certainly blows here, but it isn't the archangel's horn.
  32. The movie drains Cole and Linda Porter of blood and fills them with embalming fluid.
  33. A limited movie that can't animate its subject amid all the tricks and glitz. De-Lovely is devoid of life.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. JeffS.
    Dec 16, 2006
    I anticipate that De-Lovely will become one of the most highly regarded films of the past fifty years. Mr. Winkler's team has fashioned a daring concept with poignance, wit, great music, design and fully nuanced and realized performances by Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd and Jonathan Pryce. The engagedment of current pop standard, rock and jazz singers and stylings seemlessly provides the story with resonance for present times and injects the account of Cole Porter's life with appropriate irony and insight. Thanks to DVD distribution, De-Lovely" will outlive its critics and, as more discover it, be considered a classic. This may be Irwin Winkler's greatest film. Full Review »
  2. JeanM.
    Nov 23, 2006
    This movie has good music, but good music does not make a good movie. The people behind De-Lovely are obviously very professional, and the narration idea IS interesting, but the movie remains, however, incredibly boring. The viewer comes out of the film having finally learned very little about Cole Porter, which is a shame considering the movie is about him... In fact, the most fun to be had in this film is identifying the myriad of current pop stars who guest star in the film (Robbie Williams, Diana Krall, Lemar, Sheryl Crow, etc..), and while guest stars are sure fun in any film, they should never be the point of one. Simply put, the bottom line is, De-Lovely isn't horrible...but it certainly isn't good. There is much, much better cinema to be seen out there. If you wish to see a good biopic about a famous musician, check out the amazing Walk The Line (about Johnny Cash), one of the best movies in my opinion. Ray, though overrated, is still a lot better than De-Lovely. And finally I haven't seen the Bobby Darin biopic Beyond The Sea, but it seems pretty good as well. Full Review »
  3. FrankO.
    Jan 25, 2006
    Better than I expected, beyond the music which I already knew, I learned lots about the man Cole Porter, great cinematography going back and forth with blk/white..current day life to reliving past...Kevin Kline was outstanding. Full Review »