User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 43
  2. Negative: 4 out of 43
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  1. ChadS.
    Jul 17, 2004
    5
    If you're going to "out" Cole Porter for all the world to see, you should at least present his music in the best possible light. Porter's music catches fire, finally, in Caroline O'Connor's rendition of "Anything Goes" but she's not "perverted like [Alanis Morissette]" so a potential highlight is cut up by the narrative. Morissette, though not horrible, is a If you're going to "out" Cole Porter for all the world to see, you should at least present his music in the best possible light. Porter's music catches fire, finally, in Caroline O'Connor's rendition of "Anything Goes" but she's not "perverted like [Alanis Morissette]" so a potential highlight is cut up by the narrative. Morissette, though not horrible, is a distraction, as are Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, and Robbie Williams. Cole Porter deserves better than "American Dreams: The Movie". Since "Delovely" might not convince Porter neophytes of the great composer's genius, they'll remember him as a gay man, and a one-legged man. Ashley Judd and Kevin Kline, under all that geriatric make-up ala Bette Midler and James Caan in "For the Boys", makes you wish "Delovely" was a better film during their final scene together. As Porter reflects back on his life, Winkler borrows from Federico Fellini's "8 1/2", when all the characters in his life come back to him; the same cinematic inspiration that fueled "The Gong Show Movie", which situates Chuck Barris in a Morroccan desert surrounded by his television cohorts. Which begs the question: Who would you gong? Collapse
  2. VinceH.
    Jul 5, 2004
    6
    I have to agree with Barna B. on this one. The acting is uniformly excellent (esp. from Kline & Judd), but the script by the usually excellent Jay Cocks (long-time Scorsese collaborator who worked uncredited on both "Gangs of New York" & "The Aviator"). Winkler's direction is pretty straightfoward and direct, with an almost John Ford-ian like sense of the invisible camera. All in all I have to agree with Barna B. on this one. The acting is uniformly excellent (esp. from Kline & Judd), but the script by the usually excellent Jay Cocks (long-time Scorsese collaborator who worked uncredited on both "Gangs of New York" & "The Aviator"). Winkler's direction is pretty straightfoward and direct, with an almost John Ford-ian like sense of the invisible camera. All in all a well-directed musical that was Wildly underwhelming. Expand
  3. BarryR.
    Aug 14, 2004
    5
    Well, we finally went to see De-Lovely starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. In spite of so many friends indicating that they liked the picture (which is why we went), I was terribly disappointed in the directing, the editing, the writing and the music. Yes, the music, which should have been able to carry any picture about Cole Porter, because his compositions were so great. He was that Well, we finally went to see De-Lovely starring Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. In spite of so many friends indicating that they liked the picture (which is why we went), I was terribly disappointed in the directing, the editing, the writing and the music. Yes, the music, which should have been able to carry any picture about Cole Porter, because his compositions were so great. He was that rare talent like Frank Loesser and Irving Berlin who could write not only great music but great lyrics as well. Instead you have the likes of Elvis Costello, Diana Krawll, Sheryl Crow and others who insist on becoming better composers than the authors of the songs they sing. I didn't want to hear Begin the Beguine done with a new melody..Porter's was just fine. The plot, the movie theme, the whole nine yards didn't turn out well at all. The movie had about 7 different endings, all of which are in the movie and, sadly, I wanted the first possible ending to be the final one. There are some who will say it's surrealistic and magical and you've got to "let yourself go with it". Humbug. A good movie doesn't need rationalizations or gimmicks. This was not comfortable to watch and made me sorry I went. I wouldn't buy the soundtrack because all of the songs have been done better and by better artists. Buy an Ella Fitzgerald or Bobby Short CD of Cole Porter and spend your time listening to them instead of travelling to the show. At least the prior bio pic about Cole Porter, i.e. Night and Day with Cary Grant and Alexis Smith, though Hollywoody and not real, had some great music and, after all, isn't that what Porter was all about. This movie gets a 5 and should be grateful for even that. Expand
  4. KatyL.
    Aug 3, 2004
    5
    Wow. Such a gross disappointment. I'm a huge fan of Cole Porter, and a fan of Kevin Kline, so I thought this couldn't go wrong. I'm also quite a fan of Bob Fosse, from whom this concept was completely robbed. It's ok to recycle a good idea, but the finished product was LAME. I will give kudos to the music, to Ashley Judd's performance, and to the fact that I now Wow. Such a gross disappointment. I'm a huge fan of Cole Porter, and a fan of Kevin Kline, so I thought this couldn't go wrong. I'm also quite a fan of Bob Fosse, from whom this concept was completely robbed. It's ok to recycle a good idea, but the finished product was LAME. I will give kudos to the music, to Ashley Judd's performance, and to the fact that I now know more about Porter's life than I did going in. But I never believed Kline, which is weird because I believed him as a raging Frenchman and an idiot sadist ... you'd think that a bisexual composer wouldn't be too hard for him. If you're on the fence as to whether or not to see this, save yourself the disappointment and go buy the soundtrack. Expand
  5. chrish
    Oct 6, 2005
    5
    I thought the movie had an interesting way of presenting the story but I was totally turned off by all the smoking- even Ashley Judd who was obviously not a smoker when the movie started got the hang of it by the end. Surely we can tell the story of a great songwirter without everyone puffing on cigarettes in every frame...it did not lend anything to the movie except that Linda Poretr I thought the movie had an interesting way of presenting the story but I was totally turned off by all the smoking- even Ashley Judd who was obviously not a smoker when the movie started got the hang of it by the end. Surely we can tell the story of a great songwirter without everyone puffing on cigarettes in every frame...it did not lend anything to the movie except that Linda Poretr died on lung cancer but even then no one stopped. Expand
  6. T.M.
    Feb 17, 2005
    4
    Louis B. Mayer, Cole Porter and company breaking into choreographed song and dance on the MGM back lot?? A ghost/angel/Broadway producer showing Porter a film of his life (as a framing device)?? Current rock singers butchering Porter's songs?? What were the filmmakers thinking? Were they smoking crack? I give this film a 4 for what of Porter's music this film didn't Louis B. Mayer, Cole Porter and company breaking into choreographed song and dance on the MGM back lot?? A ghost/angel/Broadway producer showing Porter a film of his life (as a framing device)?? Current rock singers butchering Porter's songs?? What were the filmmakers thinking? Were they smoking crack? I give this film a 4 for what of Porter's music this film didn't eviscerate, and for the performances of Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd. They tried really, really hard to rise above the lame script with its often laughable dialogue, but that script, the poor editing, the unnecessary framing device, bad soundtrack decisions, and the hollowness at the core of this film render the stars' efforts useless. I think I'll rent "Night and Day"; it may whitewash Porter's homosexuality, but it's got to be better than this film. Expand
  7. PatrickM
    Jul 17, 2004
    4
    With all the cameos, I was waiting to see Ben Stiller. But seriously, I thought Kline and Judd were well played and kept this movie afloat. Unfortunately, the middle of the flim dragged. It was a nice mix of Porter songs, but when the music numbers weren't going, the script caught some pretty major pit falls. The makeup looked like an older Biff in Back to the Future. i.e. incredibly With all the cameos, I was waiting to see Ben Stiller. But seriously, I thought Kline and Judd were well played and kept this movie afloat. Unfortunately, the middle of the flim dragged. It was a nice mix of Porter songs, but when the music numbers weren't going, the script caught some pretty major pit falls. The makeup looked like an older Biff in Back to the Future. i.e. incredibly fake. It needed to end about 30 minutes earlier than it did. I think most critics feel similar to me when I express disappointment. Porter deserved better. Expand
  8. VinceH
    Jul 22, 2004
    5
    Director Irwin Winkler has described this movie as a "musical for adults", which is a huge anomaly in the theaters this summer amidst the Mc-Cluster of big-budget action steamers and teen girl virgin power tales. But the film that is meant to be the essential tale of Cole Porter's life suceeds neither as that nor a musical for adults. The musical interludes are beautiful songs Director Irwin Winkler has described this movie as a "musical for adults", which is a huge anomaly in the theaters this summer amidst the Mc-Cluster of big-budget action steamers and teen girl virgin power tales. But the film that is meant to be the essential tale of Cole Porter's life suceeds neither as that nor a musical for adults. The musical interludes are beautiful songs performed mostly by famous singers who just prove to be more distracting than exciting, with the exception being Diana Krall who seemed to be the only one to truly understand how to sing a Cole Porter song. The scenes would've benefitted from actual Broadway musical singers doing them, but alas, there would be lesser soundtracks to sell. The best scenes are the interactions between Porter and his wife Linda, both played very well (esp. Kline, who continues a string of good performances in weak films beginning with 1999's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"). Winkler's direction is flat and uninteresting, and a cinephile can only imagine what this might've been like say if Coppola (an avid Cole Porter fan) or Scorsese had gotten their mitts on it. Jay Cocks' script does a fine job of detailing Porter's rise to fame and his many personal problems with Linda, but leaves his creative genius unilluminated and we never really get a sense of how or why he wrote music, what the songs mean to him, the context of them, etc. Also, the bizarre narrative device of Porter being dead and watching a film of his moments in life with an angel seems to be an exercise in post-modern meta-storytelling but is really just weird and doesn't add up to much. Expand
  9. BenB.
    Jan 24, 2005
    5
    I would like to like this movie, but sadly it can't decide whether it is about Cole Porter or uses Cole Porter as a tableau. The device of injecting Cole Porter songs falls flattest because it typifies this question. So, which causes which? Is Love for Sale supposed to be about homosexual love, or is it just convenient to the plot? No biopic can answer that completely, but this movie I would like to like this movie, but sadly it can't decide whether it is about Cole Porter or uses Cole Porter as a tableau. The device of injecting Cole Porter songs falls flattest because it typifies this question. So, which causes which? Is Love for Sale supposed to be about homosexual love, or is it just convenient to the plot? No biopic can answer that completely, but this movie flirts with the idea, just like Ashley Judd's Linda flirts with Cole. Not only do the writers fail in execution, but they fail in intent. Is this supposed to be a movie using Porter's music, much as was done in the Broadway revue of Fats Waller, or is the music supposed to illustrate something about Porter's nature? Without being clear about that, the film tries to have it both ways and so fails at both. Expand
  10. JeanM.
    Nov 23, 2006
    5
    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 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. Expand
Metascore
53

Mixed or average reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 33
  2. Negative: 4 out of 33
  1. 75
    At its best, De-Lovely evokes a time, a place and a sound with stylish wit and sophistication.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    Benefits greatly from Kevin Kline's outstanding performance as the ultra-sophisticated songwriter whose resilient marriage anchored a complicated double life.
  3. A sprightly musical revue built around Cole Porter songs and a few biographical tidbits culled from his extraordinary life.