Inspirational Opulence: Our Review of ‘Love, Cecil’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 16, 2018
Inspirational Opulence: Our Review of ‘Love, Cecil’

Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s Love, Cecil is a mostly by the numbers documentary. It has a lot of the same methods and chapters as other movies about creative LGBT people. However, I suppose that one more note added into LGBT history is better than none at all. It spends quite some time documenting Beaton’s summer houses. It’s a strange decision to depict places like Ashcombe, where the photographer and costume designer took his friends. Perhaps the film is trying to get something out these rustic Edwardian structures slowly chipping away within nature. Nature and the past are two of Beaton’s favourite inspirations. I suppose it also serves as breathing moments between periods in his roller coaster of a life. Such is the curse of ambitious people like him who liked to climb into high social circles.

A part of the documentary’s prologue shows Beaton’s most glorious achievement. He designed the costumes for Hollywood’s two most opulent movies, Gigi and My Fair Lady. He reshaped our visual understanding of the Belle Epoque. Sure he looked forward, which a lot of people did and needed to in the 1950s and the 1960s. However, he also and mostly dug from the well of our collective memories. This film chooses parts of My Fair Lady that makes me wish I liked the latter more. One of the competent things that this documentary does is take his cue in telling his story. It mentions time sparsely, through Rupert Everett’s narration. It then, like in one scene, shows young Beaton, flunking Cambridge during the Twenties. He dresses up in garb that we would see generations later.

What is time, especially for people like Beaton, who didn’t feel time’s restrictions the us mortals we do. For a college dropout he succeeded in ways that people who are more educated don’t. The documentary is mindful of the circumstances that led him to his gilded path. It keeps reminding us that he was only in the fringes of the upper class. It also characterizes his daring nature as an enfant terrible as instinctual more than it is a performative affectation. However, it also reveals his insecurities, a quality that struggling creative types all face. There are brave people like him who had their share of struggling against self doubt. The familiarity of his story can be frustrating. But it can also inspire those who want to continue working like he did.

  • Release Date: 3/16/2018
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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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