Chris & Don Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 16, 2013
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.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2008
[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]
Super Reviewer
½ July 13, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2009
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.
½ July 8, 2011
A delightful program. The theme doesn't allow expose into darker subjects, Isherwood's Pre-WWII Germany experience, the younger Bachardy's family life, same sex lovers during repressed times, are only given honorable mention. Bachardy was a physically beautiful young man and we clearly understand that one person can be enraptured by such beauty in a youthful other. "May-December couplings" make me uncomfortable but my opinion about it need apply only for me. I question it because I do not comprehend a bond with such disparity of experience. Yet they are not uncommon. Other disturbed positions of exploitation or pedophilia are simply exaggerated conjecture or plain wrong. Today's moral cultural compass does not apply 60 years ago when not yet conceived and is rightfully not explored in the film. The film does not debate these themes. This is a story about two adults 30 years difference in age. Bachardy says maybe he was influenced, wrongfully or rightfully by a influential older man but gladly so. He welcomed the experiences Isherwood without harmful intent or outcome provided him. There is no evidence for raking gross and perverted conjecture. I'm sorry we are such people. I am envious of experiences these men had, the talent they possess and I would never deny them that, nor us them. The film employs too few purposeful but wonderful quotes from Isherwood's diaries narrated by Michael York, photos and exquisite home movie footage. Those films show happy people with chemistry. There's little affection on display, it wouldn't have been considered in that day.
The title does not expose that this is ultimately Bachardy's story of the relationship. The film may lack some depth and nuance of full disclosure but I do not believe the film is ever dishonest. Some loss of impact is in the matter of fact telling of more controversial points that are mentioned just with little detail or emotion. Open relationships, affairs, drug and alcohol use are talked about but sex feels barely mentioned at all. We're deceived by the lack of detail on these darker topics. Certainly Bachardy has fully come to terms with the issues of his relationship and has no regard for regret or controversy. The result is that the topics feel overlooked though they are not. Perhaps I am jaded by more brutal exposures. That true love conquers all is clear. I was impressed by the story where Bachardy embarked onto a period of self discovery that could potentially separate the lovers forever. Isherwood yielded to his younger love the freedom to have the experience. That period culminated in Isherwood creating the successful "A Single Man," and ultimately with Bachardy and Isherwood together for life. That gave proof of a couple who belong together.
Finally, the film sits so firmly within an amiable disposition that the emotional impact of Bachardy's experience through Isherwood's death is undone. Though a deeper look might have been more interesting or moving, the film would not have been as accessible and lovely.
Oddly enough I watched a polar opposite coupling in Black, White and Gray next.
August 20, 2010
I was especially interested in watching this since I just got done watching 'A Single Man' three times! I didn't know much about Chris or Don. It was educational and at times felt, bordering on voyeurism. They loved each other intensely and you can see it in Don's face when he speaks of Chris. The pain and loss is still there. Like a part of him is gone.
June 23, 2013
Fascinating, intimate portrait of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy.
April 8, 2012
Extremely moving - a true love story that looks past gender and age and focuses on what truly matters in life ... love.
October 1, 2011
This is an amazing account of the bond between Christopher Isherwood & Don Bachardy and the life that they lived together.
August 14, 2011
beautiful in every way...sniff...the title really only hints at the riches in store in this documentary about artist Bachardy and author Isherwood...
½ July 31, 2011
It was very honest and touching. It told a really unconventional love story that the society may have problem accepting. After the movie you will understand why, and how strong the bond is, regardless of gender, age, status. You will also see how the novel A Single Man came about. Strong recommend.
July 18, 2008
[b]Chris & Don: A Love Story[/b]

My friend Eliza and I just saw this film today at the Embarcadero in San Francisco. It was brilliant and poignant and moved nearly everyone in the theater to tears. The movie's intimate journey through the lives of these two gifted artists illustrates everything that is wonderful about love, honesty and devotion. This touching document of the history of their shared lives is utterly beautiful, courageous and powerful. Everyone should see this film.
Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
½ June 15, 2008
[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]
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