The Great Beauty [La Grande Bellezza]

"Extraordinary"

The Great Beauty [La Grande Bellezza] Review


It's not surprising that Oscar voters fell for the charms of this Italian odyssey, since it's essentially a love letter to Fellini and Rome. It's also completely nuts, following a man on a surreal journey as he explores the beauty around him and tries to make sense of his privileged life. So even if the movie is long and repetitive, it keeps us mesmerised by the idea that the meaning of life can be found in our own passion for beauty.

The film's central character is Jep (Servillo), who has just turned 65 and can hardly believe he lives in a city so gorgeous that it overwhelms the tourists. Jep once wrote a bestselling novel, but has spent the years since then living off his fame, partying every night and hanging out with his wealthy, cynical friends and a string of beautiful women. He's having far too much fun to write another book, but can't help but think back to his difficult childhood. And the only way to forget it is to get lost in the fabulousness of life today.

As a trip into Jep's soul, this film is a surreal dream. There isn't much of a plot, as the screen is packed with colourful images and telling observations. Jep is a fascinating character - prickly and likeable, funny and snobby and brutally honest with his opinions. And the people around him are equally intriguing, energetically performed by a terrific cast to make them all feel like they have full lives outside Jep's orbit. Not that he notices.

Writer-director Sorrentino gorgeously captures Rome's architecture and art on screen with the help of gifted cinematographer Luca Bigazzi. The film is edited with a kinetic drive that plays with colour and light, music and sound, as well as pretty much every art form imaginable. There's painting, music and sculpture of course, but also performance art and knife throwing, plus an actor preparing to play the Pope in one project and a junkie in another. Of course, Jep's goal is to let beauty obscure the grim realities of everyday life, bad relationships and regret. And even though he knows that this is artificial, it still feels wonderful.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Box Office Worldwide: $8.4M

Budget: $12.4M

Production compaines: Indigo Film, Medusa Film, Babe Films, Pathé, France 2 Cinéma, Mediaset, Canal+, France Télévisions, Regione Lazio, Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Lazio Film Commission, Fonds Eurimages du Conseil de l'Europe, Programme MEDIA de la Communauté Européenne, Biscottificio Verona

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Producer: Francesca Cima, Nicola Giuliano

Starring: Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, Carlo Verdone as Romano, Sabrina Ferilli as Ramona, Carlo Buccirosso as Lello Cava, Iaia Forte as Trumeau, Pamela Villoresi as Viola, Galatea Ranzi as Stefania, Franco Graziosi as Conte Colonna, as Stefano, Massimo Popolizio as Alfio Bracco

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.