Julie Christie stars in a role written for her: the brazen bird Diana Scott, a swinging Londoner who is discovered by a reporter for a street interview, then rises through the European modeling/acting world by sleeping with every man she meets. Laurence Harvey (from The Manchurian Candidate) and Dirk Bogarde are two of the men who use her and vice versa.
Darling exposes the jet-set high society of the mid-'60s with the cynicism and detail of a muckraking documentary. Antonioni and Fellini explored the same milieu, but writer Frederic Raphael is a much sharper and subtler satirist than either. (Raphael is also responsible for Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, and Darling's influence on that film is easy to spot). Raphael's script effectively surveys a gallery of posers -- vapid trendsetters, journalists and fashionistas, pretentious artists, and even minor royalty (Diana marries an Italian prince). Though the film drags in a few places, John Schlesinger's direction is generally excellent.
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