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? Expand
  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. NormanF.
    Jan 8, 2006
    10
    De-lovely embodied the powerful impact that Cole Porter had on a culture. De-lovely embodies a piece of the cresting American culture and what it would offer the world.
  6. BillH.
    Jul 16, 2004
    10
    A marvelolus integration of music and story, letting the songs express the emotions. Now I see where those wonderful tunes and lyrics come from. It used a framing device similar to that other wonderful film "All That Jazz", a film about another artist, Bob Fosse. A melding of dream and reality as in last year's "Chicago". Too bad about Cheryl Crowe's terrible version of "Begin A marvelolus integration of music and story, letting the songs express the emotions. Now I see where those wonderful tunes and lyrics come from. It used a framing device similar to that other wonderful film "All That Jazz", a film about another artist, Bob Fosse. A melding of dream and reality as in last year's "Chicago". Too bad about Cheryl Crowe's terrible version of "Begin the Beguine". Not her fault, of course, but what ever could have possessed them? Expand
  7. BarnaB.
    Jul 4, 2004
    2
    Although Kline and Judd are pretty good, the movie's script is a poor effort to communicate the life of a genius, using one of the oldest tricks in the book (All that Jazz comes to mind). People around me were laughing at some points, some of the lines, very clearly enunciated by Judd, seem right out of Screenwriting 101. The whole movie lacks wit, which is what makes Porter Porter. Although Kline and Judd are pretty good, the movie's script is a poor effort to communicate the life of a genius, using one of the oldest tricks in the book (All that Jazz comes to mind). People around me were laughing at some points, some of the lines, very clearly enunciated by Judd, seem right out of Screenwriting 101. The whole movie lacks wit, which is what makes Porter Porter. I thought this movie would be one of the highlights of the year for me (I love Porter), and it was a tough disappointment. Expand
  8. 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
  9. 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. Collapse
  10. cfox
    Apr 12, 2005
    8
    Kevin Kline and music were great. Very entertaining movie. Saw it twice. I would ignore the critics if I were you.
  11. MikeF.
    Jun 6, 2005
    9
    De-Lovely is not good biography but seems a rather true portrayal of the way Porter saw himself. The music is - with a some exeptions - quite gorgeous and the cinematography is stunning. I think it's an awkward "device" that some director show Porter his life - why do that? Overall, though, I think the film is a wonderful introduction to the world of Cole Porter.
  12. FrankO.
    Jan 25, 2006
    8
    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.
  13. BrandonJ.
    Nov 27, 2004
    0
    An ordeal to sit through from beginning to end. The conceit that Cole Porter is about to die and is viewing his whole life with the angel Gabriel at his side is never less than ridiculous. As for the finale and the clown number, these two have to be a duo of the worst musical numbers ever conceived and filmed. If you love Cole's music, don't see De-Lovely and you still will.
  14. CameronS.
    Jun 30, 2004
    8
    This was a good movie, It had great music and acting in it. Very Well Done movie!
  15. HughieW.
    Jul 12, 2004
    9
    Handsomely filmed, great music and a great central performance. Don't believe the cynics, lots of good stuff in here!
  16. 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
  17. MalabarJ.
    Jul 19, 2004
    8
    It's an odd movie: very "stagey," with conceits that at first I thought work better on stage than in a movie. Then I figured out that's the filmakers' point -- Porter wrote stage musicals, which are a wholly different genre than movie musicals. Much of the movie is an appreciation of those differences. And just as you wouldn't expect "Kiss Me Kate" to be a story about It's an odd movie: very "stagey," with conceits that at first I thought work better on stage than in a movie. Then I figured out that's the filmakers' point -- Porter wrote stage musicals, which are a wholly different genre than movie musicals. Much of the movie is an appreciation of those differences. And just as you wouldn't expect "Kiss Me Kate" to be a story about "real" Shakespearean actors, neither should you expect "De-Lovely" to tell the "real" Cole Porter story. In its way, "De-Lovely" is just as contrived as the Cary Grant movie about Porter. But, as befits the age of meta-everything, it's contrived -- and affectionately so -- in the same way the musicals that Porter wrote were contrivances. That's a lot of analysis, but at the end of the day, I came to enjoy and appreciate many, many things about "De-Lovely." Expand
  18. JohnB.
    Jul 2, 2004
    9
    This film is like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dismal summer season of truly bad movies. It's a good story told in an unusual manner with great music and costumes. Any film critic that loves Spiderman Two and hates this film should take a long vacation before starting a new profession.
  19. 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
  20. Unprodigaldaughter
    Jul 4, 2004
    10
    Any movie with the talented and wise Alanis Morissette deserves a 10 out of 10 in my book.
  21. JoanC.
    Aug 12, 2004
    10
    I loved it the acting was superb and the music de lightful.
  22. DonaldG.
    Mar 14, 2005
    10
    I saw this film twice, and many of the tepid of reviews I've read could have been written by me after the first viewing i.e. weak script, superficial treatment overall etc.. After the second viewing, the epiphany occurred which has made me believe that it is a masterpiece in the most rarefied sense. What is important to understand about the overall structure of the film is that what I saw this film twice, and many of the tepid of reviews I've read could have been written by me after the first viewing i.e. weak script, superficial treatment overall etc.. After the second viewing, the epiphany occurred which has made me believe that it is a masterpiece in the most rarefied sense. What is important to understand about the overall structure of the film is that what appears nebulous and weak in the film's script is a deliberate and carefully plotted device to throw the film's entire weight onto the songs of Cole Porter, greatness of which tells the only worthwile story about this man: his penetrating, hauntingly beautiful and profound essays into the inscrutability of love, and, ultimately, life itself. All great works of art are an invitation to prolonged absorption with their form and content. I submit that in De-Lovely this form must be experienced multiple times, and with an acquired, yet deep acquaintance with its sound track, whose beauty and depth provide the meaning behind the film's secrets and insights. Thanks to our technological age, we can now absorb a movie the way we do a book or a symphony. Most fims do not merit it. This one does and repays the effort a thousand fold! Expand
  23. D.Williams
    Mar 31, 2005
    0
    A total assault on the life of Cole Porter, with all songs presented totally out of context. Couldn't even stand to watch the entire film; it was too offensive to the senses.
  24. [Anonymous]
    Aug 5, 2005
    10
    Kevin Kline is amazing and charming as Cole Porter. This musical biography is so well done and original that if you see it again it will seem like an old friend.
  25. RadioLady
    Jul 15, 2004
    9
    I am so touched by the beautiful film we have just seen that I?m almost too overwhelmed to talk about it. The movie is ?De-Lovely? about the life of Cole Porter, his music and -- most of all -- about an amazing, unlikely and wonderful love. I don?t know how much is true and how much is given to poetic license, but I don?t care and I don?t want to know. I just want to hang on to the I am so touched by the beautiful film we have just seen that I?m almost too overwhelmed to talk about it. The movie is ?De-Lovely? about the life of Cole Porter, his music and -- most of all -- about an amazing, unlikely and wonderful love. I don?t know how much is true and how much is given to poetic license, but I don?t care and I don?t want to know. I just want to hang on to the heartfelt experience. I was not alone in my reaction to ?De-Lovely.? In addition to the spontaneous applause at the end, an astonishing number of people in the audience were still in their seats, savoring the impact, when the last of the credits rolled. ?De-Lovely? is such an integrated masterpiece of movie-making that I reluctantly will move on to crediting the pieces that contribute to the whole. Kevin Klein delivers a superb performance playing Cole Porter from middle age into his advanced years. Ashley Judd provides an equally compelling performance as Linda the woman who Cole meets and marries early in the film. The story starts in 1920?s Paris and includes scenes in Venice prior to Cole and Linda moving onto NYC and the great white way. The set work and costumes together with direction by Irwin Winkler transport the audience flawlessly to the time and places of Cole and Linda?s experiences. ?De-Lovely? is also enabled to achieve its spectacular success by way of the strong script from Jay Cocks. And of course there is the wonderful music of Cole Porter. You could elect to see this film in order to learn more about the life of Cole Porter. You could go in order to enjoy the songs and show presentations of Cole?s music. You could also go to experience the time and places in Cole?s life. However, the best reason to go is because this is a wonderful if improbable love story. The story of love evolving and maturing as it is nurtured by Linda?s full knowledge and acceptance of Cole?s homosexual proclivities. Yet, Cole says of his many love songs that they have always been for Linda and we never doubt that it is true. And, in the end, after their relationship and love has been tested by terrible adversity, they are still there for each other with an ever-deepening love and tenderness. Rated A+, see ?De-Lovely? for the story of Cole Porter, for travel to a different time and to different places, for the music and mostly to experience the love story. It is lovely! Expand
  26. RobieK.
    Jul 26, 2004
    10
    I just love the performances, a well acted musical is better than many movies magnificent morissette and crow . I loved it!
  27. RoseMaryW.
    Jul 31, 2004
    8
    Great performance by Kevin Kline. I liked the way the movie intertwined the meaning of the songs with the story line. Dual life style is well done.
  28. JeffL.
    Aug 11, 2004
    9
    The always terrific Kevin Kline gives a beautifully nuanced performance as Cole Porter, perhaps the greatest American songwriter of the pre-rock era. Ashley Judd, so often seen squandering her genuine talent and beauty in lurid potboiler thrillers, is absolutely superb as his longsuffering wife, who is tormented by Porter's nonstop succession of gay encounters but loves him so The always terrific Kevin Kline gives a beautifully nuanced performance as Cole Porter, perhaps the greatest American songwriter of the pre-rock era. Ashley Judd, so often seen squandering her genuine talent and beauty in lurid potboiler thrillers, is absolutely superb as his longsuffering wife, who is tormented by Porter's nonstop succession of gay encounters but loves him so intensely that she somehow puts up with his infidelities. One or two of the contemporary musical guests seem a little out-of-place, but most interpret Porter's great music admirably, including lovely Sheryl Crow and the chameleonlike Elvis Costello. I also loved the tartly funny sequences set during Porter's Hollywood years, with Peter Polycarpou hilarious as the crass Louis B. Meyer. Overall, this is an engrossing, beautifully made, superbly-acted biography (not a gloss job like the 1946 Cary Grant vehicle Night and Day) highlighting some of the greatest music of the twentieth century. Expand
  29. BrittanyM.
    Nov 28, 2005
    10
    I loved this movie. I love Cole Porter and his shows, so this movie is on the top of my list. I loved all the different stars that were brought in to sing his songs.
  30. TonyB
    Oct 23, 2005
    9
    Criminally underappreciated by both the critics and the public, this is a gem of a biography with an interesting structure. Kevin Kline and Ashley Judd are superb; the supporting cast is excellent; the musical numbers are superbly designed and executed...what more can anyone want?
  31. 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
  32. JorgeM.
    Apr 18, 2005
    9
    A very touching motion picture, with remarkable participations of several well known singers. I think the movie tells Portman's story in a very creative way, focusing both sides of his nature. I really enjoyed the movie, and I believe it is a beautiful experience. And the soundtrack is just fabulous!
  33. 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
  34. JeffS.
    Dec 16, 2006
    10
    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 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. Expand
  35. JohnH.
    Dec 21, 2004
    2
    Boring, shallow, and filled with awful dialogue.
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.