That she was … although she was born as James Slattery. More famous for being famous than for any discernible talent, she became a fixture of New York’s avant-garde scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s, thanks to her association with artist Andy Warhol.
He, of course, coined the famous “15 minutes of fame” expression, which fits her to a T — and that’s why the film isn’t worthy of recommendation: It greatly overstates the importance of its subject.
“Beautiful Darling” plays 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday only, at Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch.
Growing up with a Kim Novak obsession, Darling used “82 pounds of makeup” to transform the quiet boy into an outgoing woman in roles on stage and screen.
Some consider Darling brilliant, and maybe she is, but in the footage freshman director James Rasin shares, she appears to be more wannabe than genuine thespian, and a drama queen (potentially offensive pun not intended). John Waters sure digs her, but consider the source; the film states that even Warhol used her like Kleenex, more interested in exploiting “chicks with dicks” than employing any dramatic skills.
The most interesting section details Darling’s heartbreaking childhood, as struggling with one’s identity is a universal theme, whether or not that’s related to gender. Rasin and his interviewees, however, are more interested in placing her on a pedestal that all fail to justify.