Born in 1904, the blue-blooded Isherwood attended prestigious boarding schools in England before dropping out of Cambridge in 1925. Isherwood moved to Berlin, and published his first novel in 1928. He left Berlin in 1932 already an up-and-coming writer, and bounced about Europe until immigrating to the United States in 1939, settling in Hollywood, California where he continued to write novels and dabbled in scriptwriting. Despite professional successes including penning the novel adapted for the screen as Cabaret, Isherwood was perhaps best known within Hollywood circles for being an openly-gay man-about-town when most homosexuals were still closeted.
Isherwood taking up with Bachardy scandalized many of Isherwood's friends and associates, but the couple weathered it as they would many more ups and downs in their sexually-open relationship. Isherwood was a lover, father-figure and patron to Bachardy, taking him in and putting him through art school. The lad adopted Isherwood's effete English accent, mannerisms, and mode of dress, and found his portraiture clients among Isherwood's friends. As Isherwood's health declined and Bachardy's success as an artist increased, the power dynamic shifted but the relationship continued.
Isherwood was diagnosed with prostate cancer in his late seventies and died of it at age 81 in 1986. Throughout the last months of his life, Barchardy sketched Isherwood's portrait every day. These sketches which Barchardy displays for the camera in the home that he shared with Isherwood are beautifully poignant, reflecting the artist's grief in the depiction of the subject's pain, but also capturing the immense love between the two.
Documentary filmmakers Guido Santi and Tina Mascara competently depict this long-lived love affair through extended interviews with the now septuagenarian Don Bachardy, interviews with biographers and surviving friends, readings from Isherwood's diary voiced by Michael York, old photographs and home movies, expertly-rendered recreations, and fanciful, but ill-fitting, animation.