La grande bellezza (The great beauty)

Italian cinema is not what it used to be, but in La grande bellezza director Paolo Sorrentino is attempting to channel Fellini films like La dolce vita8 ½, and others.  It tells the story of Jep Gambardella, a  best-selling author whose last novel was  40 years ago, now an occasional journalist. The film opens at his 65th birthday party. Then he learns that the first girl he loved at 18 is dead, and that she never stopped loving him. Jep is going from parties to parties, to funerals and receptions. In one scene we find him going to a plastic surgeon for Botox. In one of his bitchy rant he tells a friend her husband has been unfaithful… with a man.  He feels depressed and finds his life has been a failure.  Sorrentino puts together such a wide variety of type of people and bodies (Jep’s female agent is a dwarf) that we feel we are watching a Fellini film.   Visually stunning but the film talks too much.  Best moments are when people are dancing (disco and line-dancing).  La Grande Bellezza then comes alive. But not enough here to recommend. Not for all.

And the Oscar went to… La grande bellezza (The great beauty) from Italy was the winner for Best Foreign Language Film. The other nominees were: The broken circle breakdown (Belgium), Jagten [The hunt] (Denmark), L’image manquante [The missing picture] (Cambodia), Omar (Palestine). When accepting his Oscar director Paolo Sorrentino thanked Federico Fellini an obvious inspiration for the film. On stage with him was lead actor Toni Servillo. 

Rémi-Serge Gratton


La grande bellezza (The great beauty)

Directed by: 
Paolo Sorrentino
Screenplay by: 
Paolo Sorrentino
Umberto Contarello
Toni Servillo
Carlo Verdone
Sabrina Ferilli
Carlo Buccirosso
142 min.

Rated 14A.


In Italian with some Japanese, Spanish, and Chinese with English subtitles.

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