Watched: December 30 2019
Director: John Schlesinger
Starring: Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey, José Luis de Vilallonga, Roland Curram
Runtime: 2h 08min
Diana Scott (Christie) is being interviewed for “Ideal Woman,” telling the story of her life. And what a life! From a “normal” life and a normal marriage, she becomes friends, and later lovers, with reporter Robert Gold (Bogarde). The two of them move through in the London art scene in the swinging sixties, partying and being adored.
They both leave their spouses for each other and move in together. However, Diana becomes very jealous when Robert goes back to his ex to see his kids. In fact, she decides to have her own child, but changes her mind when it becomes a reality.
Diana, bored with Robert who likes to stay home and write, continues to seduce and be seduced to further her own modelling and acting career. She moves up in the world one man at a time while not playing very well with other women at all, all of whom she sees as threats. But what does she really want from life?
Darling is fascinating and engaging, and the contrast between Diana’s words and actions is very interesting to watch. The stories we tell ourselves and others are clearly just a version of the truth.
We loved the clothes, the decadence and hypocrisy, the out and proud gay people, and all the fake books hiding vices throughout the movie. Julie Christie and Dirk Bogarde are wonderful as Diana and Robert, with both good and bad qualities.
Thematically, there are parallels to Bitter Harvest, but Diana is treated much better than Jennie. Jennie is pretty much a victim, while Diana is the author of her own destiny – for better or worse.
What we learned: If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?
Next time: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965)