Kill Your Darlings

Art & Culture

Kill Your Darlings is a new film starring Harry Potter (aka Daniel Radcliffe) as Allen Ginsberg in his early days at Columbia University.

He’s a young Jewish kid with aspirations to be a writer, who feels stifled by the conformity of the Literature Department where innovation and imagination are discouraged. But he meets a young man called Louis, who introduces him to William Burroughs and Jack Keroiac (this all really happened), and they form a loose knit gang of rebellious and creative people who like causing trouble. But there is also trouble within the group. Ginzberg feels a strong attraction towards Louis (who encourages him without coming out in the open), while Louis himself is in thrall to a strange man called David who is obviously obsessed. 

Fans of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited  will recognise in Allen and Louis’s relationship a strong similarity to the one between Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte at Cambridge. The younger, more innocent man seduced into a hedonistic life, only to discover that his idol is all too human. Radcliffe is surprisingly good in the leading role, which involves a good deal of gay eroticism, and the rest of the cast are also excellent, especially Ben Foster unrecognisable as Burroughs. The film manages to convey the excitement of the period (1943), and the sense that writers can have of being on the cusp of something revolutionary.



Phil Raby

Front Row Films

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