Chris & Don

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 36


Audience Score

User Ratings: 456
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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.

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Critic Reviews for Chris & Don

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (2)

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

    Aug 1, 2008 | Rating: 3/4
  • Surprisingly, this 2007 documentary about their 34-year relationship becomes more engrossing as its focus shifts from Isherwood to Bachardy...

    Aug 1, 2008 | Full Review…
  • 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

    Jul 31, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 24, 2008
  • 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.

    Jul 18, 2008 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • A charming, illuminating portrait of the complex and storied queer romance between Isherwood and Bachardy.

    Jul 3, 2008

Audience Reviews for Chris & Don

  • Jun 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.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 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.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 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.
    Sunil J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 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]
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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