The life of Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is fascinating on many counts, and Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s documentary, “Love, Cecil,” digs richly into his life and work. The British-born Beaton wore many hats, including as photographer, costume designer, writer, painter and acquaintance with many notables of his era.
The film relies on archival footage that helps span his career, and a sophisticated narration by Rupert Everett, including readings from Beaton’s diaries, adds to the portrait of this colorful, prolific career.
Beaton’s life as a gay man is evident, but more significcant are his achievements, such as his appreciated photography for Vogue and Vanity Fair, and the elegance of his theater and film costume designs, especially for “My Fair Lady” and “Gigi.”
On the flip side was a controversy involving what was regarded as anti-semitism, for which he apologized. But Beaton deserves to be primarily remembered for all of his achievements, as celebrated in Vreeland’s portrait of this iconic figure.
The director is clearly an admirer of Beaton’s work, and the film, in addition to being entertaining in its depiction of Beaton, is a major contribution to remembering the triumphs of one so important in so many areas of his work and life. A Zeitgeist Films release in association with Kino Lorber. Reviewed June 29, 2018.