#250 Darling

Watched: December 30 2019

Director: John Schlesinger

Starring: Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey, José Luis de Vilallonga, Roland Curram

Year: 1965

Runtime: 2h 08min

darling

Source

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.

darling1
“My career goals? Model, actress or princess. Yes, I’m a grown woman. Why do you ask..?”

Source

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.

darling5
“You know what they say – bringing a baby into a troubled relationship always saves the day.”

Source

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?

darling3
“Oh, I’m just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family. It’s just, I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade.”

Source

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.

Darling2
“Did I leave the iron on..?”

Source

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.

darling6
“Just think of all the ways we could eventually hurt and devastate each other!”

Source

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.

darling4
“Bitch, I’m fabulous!”

Source

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)

#222 Billy Liar

Watched: March 02 2019

Director: John Schlesinger

Starring: Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Gwendolyn Watts, Helen Fraser, Wilfred Pickles, Mona Washbourne, Ethel Griffies, Finlay Currie

Year: 1963

Runtime: 1h 38min

Billy

Source

Meet Billy (Courtenay). Billy lives with his parents and works at an undertakers’. Billy juggles girlfriends/fiancées Barbara (Fraser) and Rita (Watts) while harbouring a secret crush on free spirit and original manic pixie dream girl Liz (Christie). He also lies through his teeth.

Billy2
Why on earth this lovely, innocent girl would let this man bring her to a cemetery is beyond us. Here, she clearly only has a few minutes left to live.

Source

Billy has an imaginary world where he is not only king, but pretty much every inhabitant, at least any person of note. This kingdom of Ambrosia is his escape from his boring, average life, as well as an outlet for his creativity. And a source of frustration for his fed up family.

Billy3
Who hasn’t dreamt of being a hero, loved and admired by men and women alike?

Source

Sexually frustrated ladies man, compulsive liar, rebellious teen and part time sociopath, Billy’s fantasies often end in him gunning down everyone around him, especially those who inconvenience him. He lies to protect himself and to seem more interesting. He’s not too good with criticism or confrontation, and he dreams of a more exciting life which he is too scared to actually pursue.

Billy4
We get it, Billy. It’s much easier to be the fictional ruler of Ambrosia than to actually go out and take chances with your life, risking defeat. Go Liz!

Source

Oh, did we mention he also tries to drug one his girlfriends to have sex with her? Which definitely ranks in the top three of “the worst thing that can happen when a man brings a woman to a cemetery”-list.

Billy5
Lucky for her he bought bad drugs. And also didn’t know which part of her to suck…

Source

You can probably tell that we’re not quite sold on the character of Billy… In fact, we found him somewhat sinister at times. However, there are still a lot of things to enjoy about this movie. As always, we loved Tom Courtenay’s face(s), we loved the banter in the funeral home, the twist dancing, and the flashes between reality and Billy’s fantasy world.

billy6
For all his faults, it’s hard to completely hate a man who is so overly dramatic and extra.

Source

We also liked Liz. Where Billy had only his dreams, Liz had the guts and the follow-through. He talked a good game, but she actually went out and did things with her life. The only thing that confused us about her was why she would be interested in someone like him.

Billy7
“Shit! I just realized I’m Julie Motherfucking Christie! So long, sucker!”

Source

It’s an interesting movie and well worth watching. Apart from his treatment of the women in his life (this goes for girlfriends as well as his mother and grandmother), Billy is relatable in a lot of ways. Frustrated with his mundane working class existence, he retreats into his fantasy world where he can actually achieve and experience things. We can understand that. But like the demolition work going on all around him, he has a destructive streak, and it’s a dark one…

Billy8
Why can’t it be both..?

Source

What we learned: There’s a fine line between having an active imagination and being a compulsive liar.

Next time: Black Sabbath (1963)