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Ewan McGregor Delivers A Masterclass In Acting In Halston



Halston(Netflix, 5 Episodes)

Starring  Ewan McGregor as Halston,Rebecca Dayan as Elsa Peretti,David Pittu as Joe Eula, Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli,Bill Pullman as David Mahoney

Directed  by Daniel Minahan

Rating: ** ½

  I must confess I’ve no interest in the  secret  and public  lives of  dress designers.  Of course I’ve heard  of Kelvin Klein and  Manish Malhotra ,and I even know one of  the two personally(guess which!) .But I had  never  heard  of Halston.

I decided to invest  4 ½  hours of my life in getting to know  about  him only because   of  that brilliant  British  actor Ewan McGregor  who  for  my money and time is  the  finest British actor since Richard Burton.

Hell, McGregor has even begun to resemble  Burton  in  tone  and personality! I have watched his best  performances  many times over. I can’t say  I  will go back  to Halston. But that  isn’t McGregor’s  fault. The  life of decadence debauchery and self-abuse that Halston  lived hardly justified his evil designs(pun!). The gay man(if  it’s a designer….) started making hats for his precious mother when he was a child. He should have stuck to the  era of  innocence.

  In adulthood  he made hats for  Jacqueline  Kennedy and   stage  outsfits for  Liza Minelli, and that’s a sparkling  performance by  Krysta Rodriguez.Her opening act where she sings and sings about her name being mispronounced—its is Lie-za, not Lee-sa—is  worth  its weight in gold.

I wish  the  rest  of the series had more of these sparkling moments.Sadly it’s more drudge that dynamism.

 Halston is tragically  deprived of  a life-force. It isn’t MacGregor’s  fault, really . Halston is  such an unlikeable jerk, using and abusing the people close to him. These include his long-time clothes illustrator and best  friend Joe Eula(David Pittu),  Tiffany-model  Elsa  Peretti(Rebecca Dayan), his first love Ed Austin(Sullivan Jones) and  then the brutal sadistic   love of Halston’s life  the Venezuelan  self-styled  artiste  Victor Hugo (Gian Franco Rodriguez) in whom  Halston  more  than meets his match.

The  intimate  scenes  between Halston and  Hugo are so absurdly theatrical  as  to seem like  a travesty  of true feelings. Or  maybe Halston played out his  whole life as a  burlesque of  true feelings. His arrogant  obliviousness is   a kind of  central theme to  the  bio-pic.McGregor showers  nervous energy on his  self obsessed    actor. It does  nothing to   endear him to generations who  know nothing about  Halston,  or worse,don’t care.

As I watched  Halston’s hedonistic  doomed life  of cocaine  and rough sex(he enjoyed  casual sex and  the  company of  gigolos)  come alive in fits and spurts. The orgiastic  lifestyle is  repugnant,  to say the least. I  wondered why  the  lives  of  all the  celebrities  of the American entertainment  business looked  so similar in their propensity  for sex drugs  and scandals.

In  a sequence during a session of creating his  own perfume Halston  brings his  lover’s  underwear for a scent test.McGregor has done  a lot of kinky things on screen in his earlier films. This one fails to scandalize.  Halston is to brazen to be shocking even an actor as  brilliant as McGregor is playing him.

If  you are  huge clothes  horse  or a big fan  of Ewan McGregor , only them should you venture into the this bio-pic . It  tries to be edgy. But  only ends up  celebrating the clichés  of   life in showbiz. Not for a  minute  of the sprawling  playing-time did I feel anything but a distant  contempt for   Haltson’s  debauched  lifestyle.

 Here is one life that  brought  on  its own ruination.  No tears shed. No  regrets. No takeaways. Except on how to live life ‘kink’ size.

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