Beautiful Darling (2011)
Born in a Long Island suburb in 1944, James Slattery immediately felt drawn to the feminine side of life -- to such a degree that he established himself as one of the most iconic of all female impersonators, Candy Darling. As given life by Slattery, this young, sexy, and alluring blonde actress single-handedly overtook Manhattan. She attained her greatest recognition for her portrayals in two Paul Morrissey-directed films: Flesh (1968) and Women in Revolt (1971), both produced by Andy Warhol. Mainstream stardom soon beckoned to Darling, but aside from bit appearances in such productions as Klute (1971) -- and playwright Tennessee Williams's decision to cast her in a production of his Small Craft Warnings -- she continued to suffer from marginalization. Internally, if Darling suffered from an intense and bitter loneliness that propelled her into a life-long search for love, she also wielded boundless courage -- the same courage that enabled her to transform herself from a Long Island-bred young man into a Manhattan glamour goddess. Tragically, she died of lymphoma at age 29, soon after attaining stardom. James Rasin's documentary Beautiful Darling pays unfettered tribute to Darling's all-too-brief life and career, with a combination of current and vintage interview material, rarely seen archival photos and footage, and extracts from Darling's movies. Rasin weaves much of the material around the theme of fidelity to one's true self and deepest convictions, as exemplified by Darling. Morrissey executive produced. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi … More
as Candy Darling
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Critic Reviews for Beautiful Darling
Darling's fragility was no secret, which gives even the movie's comical moments an underlying poignancy.
"Beautiful Darling" is sympathetic and critical, a sobering reminder in this fame-grabbing age of a time when gender politics, art and artifice could make for a turbulent identity cocktail.
Eventually, everybody who ever spent five minutes with Andy Warhol will have a film made about them
Like fellow Factory figures Edie Sedgwick and Jackie Curtis, Darling now gets her own documentary, and proves a more than worthy subject.
A discomforting look at a transsexual actress's difficult life and isolating pursuit of fame.
This riveting documentary about one of the legendary triumphant gender illusionists is also a compelling portrait of an endlessly fascinating era.
A fairly besotted look, produced under the guidance of a longtime friend.
"Beautiful Darling" makes extensive use of photos, sketches and Darling's diaries belonging to Jeremiah Newton, a gay pal she lived with on and off until her death from cancer in 1974.
The film isn't blinded by Candy's beauty and celebrity; it digs critically, if still empathetically, beneath.
Perhaps it's time we acknowledged that, despite their outrť appetites, Warhol's superstars may have been legitimately boring people.
Audience Reviews for Beautiful Darling
This is a documentary about the drag queen/transsexual performer Candy Darling, who was one of Andy Warhol's Superstars. Most of the film is relayed through interviews conducted by her friend Jeremiah Newton, who takes up almost all of the film as he mugs for the camera. I don't believe his sentiments are untrue to the spirit of Candy, but the film shouldn't have featured him so heavily. The film also provides a lot of footage of Candy in various films, backstage at comedy clubs, and there are voice overs (Sevigny) that read from her diaries. From the many interviews there's a decent enough picture of who she really was and what she wanted, but there wasn't a lot of context, historically speaking. For someone unaware of Warhol's oeuvre, this film is not very informational. There's no link between Warhol and Candy, except for when those interviewed express Candy's dependency on the icon for her continued fame. Otherwise it's unclear how Candy became Candy other than from the words of Newton. We don't know how she made it to New York, how she transformed herself, or what her relationship with Warhol was like. While these aspects of her story may not be what's important to understand her as a person, they need to be shown to the audience so we understand the film's narrative.More
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