My Darling Julie Christie
"Darling" is a movie which sounds better than it is with it's story of a model who uses sex to climb the social ladder, manipulating men to get what she wants but only to discover that it means nothing and ultimately her life is empty. It sounds like it should be exciting, daring and even risque and quite possibly "Darling" was daring when it was released back in 1965. But watching it now it all seems a little tame and frankly boring despite featuring a wonderful performance from Julie Christie in the main role. As such it feels like "Darling" is one of those movies which speaks to those who grew up during the 60s when it was released but fails to achieve the same level of entertainment with newer audiences.
Diana Scott (Julie Christie - Billy Liar) is a young and attractive model who wants to go places, she is also married but that wont stop her. After meeting married TV Journalist Robert Gold (Dirk Bogarde - They Who Dare) she embarks on an affair with him who helps introduce her to his social circle. Before long Diana having grown tired of Robert moves on despite the fact that he left his family for her. And so it goes on as Diana climbs the social ladder going from one man to the next, but each time ending up feeling empty having climbed to the next social level.
It has to be said that for the first half "Darling" seems to meander along at such an odd and slow pace that it is easy to walk away from. It just doesn't flow and whilst it is easy to follow as we can easily pick up on the fact that Diana is bored with her life and so seeks excitement through having affairs it struggles to keep your attention. It does pick up pace and as we watch Diana climb the social ladder via various relationships it also gets a little interesting but in a way it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, a fact high lighted by the less than sensational ending.
But the thing about "Darling" is that it is a movie which is about the 60s, the sexual liberation, the weird parties and so on and so fourth. And that is a problem because unless you can appreciate the 60s having lived through it "Darling" will end up rather dull. It is very much a movie which is dated and as such doesn't get better with age although I can appreciate that with the nudity, the various affairs and sexual encounters on show it must have caused some controversy when originally released. But it just doesn't speak to me as someone born in the 70s and it all feels a bit artsy, flowing freely and never really seeming to go anywhere.
Despite my struggle to be entertained by the storyline I have to say I was gripped by Julie Christie and not just because she is stunning as Diana. What impresses about Christie's performance is that she gets across the dissatisfaction with life, her struggle with boredom and normality causing her to seek excitement. But at the same time you also get the sense of emptiness that Diana has, that every time she gets her fix of excitement via having an affair she then hits a huge low of normality. As such whilst "Darling" features good performances from the likes of Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey and Roland Curram it is really a movie which will always be remembered for Julie Christie's Oscar winning performance.
What this all boils down to is that I just wasn't entertained by watching "Darling" although I was entertained by Julie Christie's performance. The trouble is that "Darling" is a movie about the 60s and unless you lived through that era it is difficult to really get into. And with its almost meandering first half it all seems to be going nowhere. As such for me "Darling" is a movie for those who lived through the 60s and not for newer audiences who will struggle to appreciate the various story elements.