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The Gospel According to André (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

The Gospel According to André


Featuring Andre Leon Talley, Anna Wintour, Tamron Hall, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Valentino, Manolo Blahnik, Maureen Dowd, Fran Lebowitz, Eboni Marshall Turman,, Steve Stoute, Valentino Garavani, Norma Kamali, Bethann Hardison, Betty Catroux, Ralph Rucci, George Malkemus, III, Isabella Rossellini, Tonne Goodman, Graydon Carter, Andre Walker, Catherine Marron, Yvonne Cormier, Anne Taylor, Wanda Garrett, Bruce Weaver and Reed Evins.

Written by Kate Novack.

Directed by Kate Novack.

Distributed by Magnolia Pictures. 93 minutes. Not Rated.

I have been an André Leon Talley fan since his guest judge appearances on America’s Next Top Model. As Tyra Banks pointed out on her show, Talley is a Style Icon.

This is a fine documentary, with notably great editing, a sublime, varied soundtrack, and stunning visuals. Most importantly, André Leon Talley’s story, is worth telling. I couldn’t really get a sense of the filming timeline – there was so much great footage that was so beautifully and seamlessly edited into the film, that it felt like he was always followed by a camera crew.

The Gospel According to André is, like its subject, larger than life. There are three particularly notable “Watch This” moments:

  1. Watch this film to see André Leon Talley sharing the story of when and how he found his first cape, captured with all the drama and whimsy that you could ever imagine.

  2. Watch this film to see Isabella Rosellini getting down on the Farm. And when I say down, I literally mean rolling around with and scratching the belly of a ginormous pig.

  3. Watch this film for the poignant footage on November 9, 2016. André’s face and experience mirrors so many of ours. He goes on to live blog the inauguration on January 20, 2017, keeping his comments cautiously focused on Melania and her impeccable fashion sense, the silver lining in this period.

This is a documentary about an icon and how he came to be. Raised by his grandmother in the deep south of Durham, NC in the age of Jim Crow, she allowed and encouraged Talley to be himself – unapologetically and respectfully himself. He was well schooled, first at the all-black Hillside High School, where they were taught excellence without excuse. Where “you couldn’t be just good, you had to be better – success was the best revenge.” He then graduated from Brown University, spending time with students from nearby Rhode Island School of Design, where he became known for his sense of style.

From Providence, he started working in New York City with none other than Andy Warhol, which led to connections throughout the art industry. New York led to Paris, where Talley used his fluency in French to forge lifelong industry connections.

The Gospel According to André chronicles the who’s-who of the fashion industry. It shows Talley’s connections to all of the style circles, while beautifully broaching on how rare it was to have a tall, black man so prominent in this scene. He remains a well-liked and respected iconic figure in the style and fashion industry, which comes through in the film’s interviews and cameos.

Overall, this 93-minute film remained entertaining throughout. I would recommend it to people interested in history, fashion, and pop culture.

Bonnie Paul

Copyright ©2018 All rights reserved. Posted: May 25, 2018.

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