Darling Movie Review
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.
The cast is very good, but Christie steals the show -- she won the Best Actress Oscar in 1965 for this film (not Doctor Zhivago, a better film but a less memorable performance). Her character is almost a metaphor for the generation and decade itself -- innocent and guileless, but destructive.
Inevitably, Darling now seems dated; its 1960s roots have grown out -- way out. But it's still an intriguing period piece from the '60s -- the last era with so much style that even these decadent and frivolous characters seem charming.