In the film Kill Your Darlings, poet Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) wins a place at Colombia University in New York City. An inexperienced freshman, he soon meets Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Ginsberg discovers that all Carr’s term papers are written by a teacher, David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall) who appears to have been an ex-lover of Carr’s. It is quite clear that Carr is simply using Kammerer.
Ginsberg’s fellow students include the writer William Burroughs (Ben Foster), who is rebellious and into experimenting with drugs and writer Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston). The three spend time together and engage in various extreme escapades.
Carr eventually stops using Kammerer and instead recruits Ginsberg to write his term papers. A confrontation occurs between Carr and Kammerer and Kammerer is stabbed to death. When he is arrested, Carr asks Ginsberg to write his deposition for him. Reluctant at first, Ginsberg digs up evidence on Kammerer and writes a piece entitled ‘the night in question’. Carr rejects the fictional story and begs Ginsberg not to reveal it in case it is detrimental to his trial. Carr is subsequently not found guilty of murder and receives only a short sentence.
Ginsberg then submits the night in question as his final term paper and is expelled as a result of it. He is forced to leave his typescript behind. A few weeks later, he receives it in the post with a letter from his professor encouraging him to pursue his writing career.
“Mr. Krokidas deftly shows how the ambition to write is entangled with other impulses.”
— A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“A vibrant, insightful film about writers and writing, featuring Daniel Radcliffe’s best post-Potter performance.”
— Damon Wise, Empire
“The film’s love for its subjects is mirrored in their passionate frenzy for words, and language – spoken, written, body – in general. Above all, and what sets it apart from other cinematic takes on the Beatified, is how much fun it is. It may end in tears, but then, don’t all great love stories?”
— Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle
Did You Know?
Daniel Radcliffe was offered the part of Ginsberg in the film Kill Your Darlings whilst performing Equus on Broadway. When filming began, he was busy filming the last two Harry Potter films. Financing fell through, but when production began again, Radcliffe was offered the role again. Review our Gay Themed Films Here