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Chris & Don: A Love Story (2007)

tomatometer

92

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 37
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 3

Chris and Don paints an affecting, enlightening portrait of a one-of-a-kind love affair.

90

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 21
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 2

Chris and Don paints an affecting, enlightening portrait of a one-of-a-kind love affair.

audience

83

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 439

My Rating

Movie Info

Guido Santi and Tina Mascara's documentary Chris and Don. A Love Story traces the romantic relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood and painter Don Bachardy. The filmmakers utilize interviews with Don himself, as well as personal documents belonging to Isherwood, in order to show how the duo nurtured each other's artistic instincts while establishing a deep emotional bond that survived even after Isherwood's passing. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Feb 24, 2009

$0.2M

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (21) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (3) | DVD (1)

Despite an age difference of 30 years, their connection was immediately electric; their first kiss, the story goes, broke a window.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Surprisingly, this 2007 documentary about their 34-year relationship becomes more engrossing as its focus shifts from Isherwood to Bachardy...

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There's a bit of Pygmalion meets The Portrait of Dorian Gray to it, and yet part of the documentary's slyness involves probing those aspects while never losing sight of the pain and glories of any emotional relationship that lasts as long as

July 31, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With delectable-looking home movies of the couple's travels in California and Europe, Chris and Don offers an intimate portrayal of a passionate, enduring association, as well as a social history of postwar life.

July 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Santi and Mascara are right to call their film A Love Story, because this is the portrait of a marriage as full and enviable as the greatest unions in literature.

July 18, 2008 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A charming, illuminating portrait of the complex and storied queer romance between Isherwood and Bachardy.

July 3, 2008 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A wonderfully crafted documentary about a most unusual long-term relationship

March 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

A great, revealing documentary; one of the best films released in 2008

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Orange County and Long Beach Blade
Orange County and Long Beach Blade

There are many reasons to see Chris & Don, but the best one I can think of is the chance to see Isherwood and his best friend W.H. Auden, probably the greatest poet of the twentieth century, jumping around together like middle-aged schoolboys in beguiling

November 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

The documentary, made after Isherwood's death and with Bachardy's enthusiastic participation, is as much a love story as a chronicle of Bachardy's maturation into a man and an artist.

October 10, 2008 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Long before anyone was talking about gay marriage, that's what Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy had

September 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Playback:stl
Playback:stl

Isherwood was the far more interesting subject, but Chris & Don is all about Bachardy -- an observation that feels like opportunism more than love story.

August 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

It's a sentimental and loving picture, playing out as a leisurely cocktail-hour stroll through an enchanting life.

July 31, 2008 Full Review Source: BrianOrndorf.com
BrianOrndorf.com

A charming, loving portrait electrified by the inclusion of lots of terrific home movie footage. These relics of gay history are worth the rest of the movie.

July 27, 2008 Full Review Source: Windy City Times
Windy City Times

Regardless of whether you recognize the names of Christopher Isherwood or Don Bachardy, this masterful documentary draws you into the men's lives like a star-studded bedtime tale.

July 24, 2008 Full Review Source: Let's Not Listen
Let's Not Listen

It's an extraordinary film that gay audiences will find particularly salient, no doubt, yet audiences with an affinity for the writings of Isherwood or nostalgia for the golden age of Hollywood may find it intriguing as well.

July 7, 2008 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

Audience Reviews for Chris & Don: A Love Story

I really don't like the stereotypes, but what more could have been expected in emotionally hobbled earlier eras? Sad and uplifting at the same time.
June 16, 2013
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]"Chris & Don: A Love Story" is a touching documentary about the decades-long relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood(1904-1986) and Don Bachardy who met in 1952 when Bachardy was only 18 and stayed together until Isherwood's death. While not always monogamous, they were more importantly open in showing their love for each other. Even while Bachardy imitated his lover's accent or mannerisms, he developed a career on his own as a portrait painter of the famous, most of whom Isherwood had introduced him to.(Bachardy grew up as a starstruck child in southern California.) As with any relationship such as this with a large age difference, I think it is only natural for there to be a large degree of cultivation, expressed in an introduction to a previously unknown world and ideas.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Most of their story is told by Bachardy who keeps active with his painting but there are also interviews with experts and notables including Leslie Caron, John Boorman and Liza Minnelli.(Isherwood's most famous work was "The Berlin Stories" which was adapted into the movie "Cabaret." Not surprisingly, Michael York reads selections from his diaries.) There is also archival footage, recreations, animation, and most especially home movies which are incredible in not only capturing the two men together, but any number of celebrities they encountered, most notably in the behind the scenes footage of "The Rose Tattoo."[/font]
June 15, 2008
Harlequin68
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

More than anything its just a sweet story about two people terribly in love with each other. Without overstating it, the film shows that all people regardless or sex, class, race, or sexual orientation all go through the same things in relationships. I would have liked a more in depth portrait of Isherwood, but still the film is adequate.
July 13, 2010
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

This was a very well-made documentary but I did feel a bit uncomfortable about Chris and Don's relationship - not so much the age difference itself but the fact that it began at 16 and 46.
March 29, 2009
SunilJawahir

Super Reviewer

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