I watched a movie I didn’t know existed until a few days ago, about a woman I knew nothing about. Now I sit here with tears in my eyes and a sadness in my heart because hers was a life too short.
The movie is ‘Beautiful Darling, The Life and Times of Candy Darling, Andy Warhol Superstar’
The title seems a little dry after watching the film, though accurate in it’s way.
I’ll share with you the storyline as given on IMBD website.
“Candy Darling was a fixture in the New York Off-Broadway scene in the 60s, in Warhol films such as Women in Revolt and Flesh, and became a prominent personality in Warhol’s circles, influencing such noted contemporary artists as Madonna, David Bowie and Lou Reed. This documentary will use a series of interviews, archival footage, and images from Candy’s home in Massapequa, NY. Archival footage includes rare 25 year old interviews conducted by Jeremiah Newton with members of Warhol’s Factory and Tennessee Williams. The film features interviews with colleagues, contemporaries and friends of Candy, including John Waters, Peter Beard, Holly Woodlawn, Bob Colacello, Geraldine Smith, Pat Hackett and Ron Delsener.”
Watching this, I found myself fascinated by Candy. I wanted to know more about her, who she was, why she was… If I hadn’t know from the description on Netflix that she was Transsexual, I never would have guessed and it wouldn’t have mattered if I did. She was, by her own hand and deed, larger than life. The flame which draws the moth, and like the flame, burned out too soon.
She was part of time which, when looking back, seems so far from us now. A different climate, a different understanding… society has moved on… Yet it really hasn’t. What you see and hear of life in the New York LGBT community of the late 60s, early 70s isn’t so far removed from where we stand at this moment. Maybe laws have changed, maybe people want to believe things are better, yet listen to the words of those interviewed, see their reactions to the memories which lie no so far beneath the surface and you will the same battles we fight today.
I do have to wonder about this film and it’s purpose. If it is to showcase a lost treasure, it does it well. If it is meant to be a cautionary tale, it does leave the proper impression. But if it is meant as a way to honor a unique soul. To spotlight the trials and tribulations of life… well then, I feel it missed the mark just a little.
You get a glimpse, through her journal of the sadness and loneliness which marked her days on the earth. You can just see, almost hidden from view, her desperate need to be accepted and loved for who and what she was.
And you can feel the weight of each passing day in which she did not find what she wanted most.
If your interested, the movie is on Netflix, available to streaming.