De-Lovely [2004]

It's astonishing that one man could have written so many memorable songs, but musical gems keep popping up in De-Lovely, about the life and loves of Cole Porter. Played by Kevin Kline (In & Out, A Fish Called Wanda), an elderly Porter is summoned by a mysterious director (Jonathan Pryce, Brazil) to view his own story, which unfolds as a series of theatrical tableaux. The movie is open (if a bit chaste) about Porter's homosexuality, but argues that the love of his life was still his devoted platonic relationship with Linda Lee (Ashley Judd, Ruby in Paradise, Kiss the Girls). Unfortunately, the narrative suffers from the fate of many biographies; by trying to cram in a person's entire life, it ends up a collection of snapshots without depth or context. The parade of celebrity singers (Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow) were apparently chosen for their jarringly modern vocal mannerisms. --Bret Fetzer

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