Darling (1965)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Satire, Comedy of Manners  |   Release Date - Aug 3, 1965 (USA)  |   Run Time - 128 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Few films provided more accurate commentary on London's Swinging Sixties than Darling: manifesting the era's amoral, carefree hedonism in its title character, the film is a satirical stab at a time and place too often padded by the forgiving dementia of nostalgia. Under the direction of John Schlesinger, the film skewers social values and any number of social types, from BBC intellectuals to empty-headed socialites to fashion world sycophants. A sly and witty two-hour dissection of what was wrong with contemporary England, Darling found its perfect case in point in Julie Christie's titular model. Alluring but shallow, vivacious but fickle, Christie's Darling is anything but a darling, providing both a central metaphor and a lightning rod for the film's ongoing ironic commentary. The fact that Christie won an Oscar for her disturbing portrayal points to her effectiveness as an actress and the resounding chord that her character struck among viewers and critics. Social satire had rarely come in a more photogenic package and was thus all the more devastating. Although centered on a distinct era and setting, Darling's satire remains as fresh and eviscerating as it was in 1965: how many viewers can fail to recognize the hypocrisies that continue to mark modern life? Timeless on almost any level, Darling is both a glorious indictment and a calculating documentation of an unforgettable time and place.