Chris & Don. A Love Story Movie Review

A wonderfully crafted documentary about a most unusual long-term relationship, Chris & Don. A Love Story chronicles a 35-year love affair that was way ahead of its time in all sorts of interesting ways. At a time when the concept of gay marriage is being fiercely debated, it's instructive to meet one couple who shacked up in 1952 and went full steam ahead.

Christopher Isherwood was one of the most prominent publicly homosexual personalities of his era. A successful writer from the 1920s on (he wrote the Berlin stories that evolved into Cabaret), he left his native England before World War II and crafted a nice life as a screenwriter and novelist in Santa Monica. It was there on a beach where Isherwood, age 48, came across 18-year-old local boy Don Bachardy and his older brother Ted. Both were gay, and both were quite ready to be welcomed into Isherwood's glamorous life. Don was the one who really captivated Isherwood, and they were soon living together with no secrets. If some observers thought they were actually father and son, then so be it.

Thanks to lots of home movies and the delightful reminiscences of Bachardy himself, we get a great sense for what it must have been like for this wide-eyed boy to suddenly find himself hobnobbing on movie sets with Burt Lancaster, enjoying his first transatlantic crossing and his first visions of Venice, and lunching on the veranda with the likes of E.M. Forster and Igor Stravinsky. A budding artist who was strongly encouraged by Isherwood to pursue his craft, Bachardy ended up sketching many stars of the time and is a successful portraitist to this day.

Of course, all was not perfect in paradise. As years passed, the two men had to legislate rules for carefully monitored infidelities, and Bachardy confesses to long struggles with inferiority complexes, problems that excerpts from Isherwood's famous diaries (read here by Michael York) confirm. Interspersed throughout are memories from celebrity friends, most notably a gracious Leslie Caron, who marvel at the ultimate strength of the Chris/Don bond.

The film is a chance for Bachardy not only to tie a neat bow on what has been a remarkable life but also to bring his beloved Chris back to life in a way. He shows piles of sketches he did of Chris as he faded away from prostate cancer in the mid-'80s, and we also get to see him indulging in his daily gym workouts and doing some nude portrait painting of handsome young men who come by his house to pose. Not bad for a 75-year-old! We also get a glimpse of Don's brother Ted who, nearing 80, has led a life ruined by mental illness. There but for the grace of God, opines Don.

The film's directors also include a few touches of delightful animation inspired by Don and Chris's pet personas for each other: a young cat being led around by an old horse. It's a playful and intimate way to take us even deeper into the private world of two gay men who chose to build a great life together at a time when few others dared to do so. Just ask Mrs. Rock Hudson.

Add some more hair on top.

Cast & Crew

Director : Tina Mascara, Guido Santi

Producer : Tina Mascara, Guido Santi, Julia Alexander,

Starring : , Don Bachardy


Comments

Chris & Don. A Love Story Rating

" Good "

Rating: NR, 2007

Editors Recommendations

Game Of Thrones Recap: "The Lion And The Rose" AKA The Purple Wedding

It’s been two days since Game of Thrones, so anyone not caught up should be responsible...

Game Of Thrones Recap:

Robin Roberts Offers Explanation For Secrecy Surrounding Female Partner

Robin Roberts only revealed that she was in a long-term relationship with a female...

Robin Roberts Offers Explanation For Secrecy Surrounding Female Partner

Brad Pitt And Director David Michod Adapting Stanley McChrystal's Story Into "The Operators" Film

Brad Pitt is keeping on with the theme of military films and, with the help of Animal Kingdom...

Brad Pitt And Director David Michod Adapting Stanley McChrystal's Story Into

Flavor Flav Pleads Guilty To Las Vegas Battery Case

The Public Enemy rapper wanted to take a plea deal to reduce the sentence over a charge...

Flavor Flav Pleads Guilty To Las Vegas Battery Case

Pharrell Williams Begins To Shed 'Happy' Tears During Oprah Winfrey Interview

Pharrell Williams is very emotional about the effect his music can have on people...

Pharrell Williams Begins To Shed 'Happy' Tears During Oprah Winfrey Interview

The Olivier Awards: Who Was Best Dressed On The Red Carpet?

The stars of stage were out last night for the Olivier Awards, honouring Britain’s top theatre talent...

The Olivier Awards: Who Was Best Dressed On The Red Carpet?

Childish Gambino Blasts Record Label On Twitter: "Someone Buy Me Out Of This Contract"

Childish Gambino, a.k.a Donald McKinley Glover, has received a fair amount of success...

Childish Gambino Blasts Record Label On Twitter:

'Joe': The Redemption Of Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage is, without a doubt, one of the world’s greatest actors. There’s not many...

'Joe': The Redemption Of Nicolas Cage

Is FX's 'Fargo' TV Series The Next BIG Thing?

The TV series adaptation of the Coen brothers Oscar-winning movie Fargo has received...

Is FX's 'Fargo' TV Series The Next BIG Thing?


More recommendations