Movie Review – The Great Beauty (2013)

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Stars: Tony Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli et al

A fixture in Rome’s high society, Jep spends his time hosting parties and going to lavish get togethers but when he hears about some bad news from the past he starts to wonder what his life really means.

I love Rome. I was only there for a day, but it made a lasting impression on me and I consider it to be one of the finest cities I have ever visited. The Great Beauty is filled with gorgeous shots of Rome and the architecture within the city, and in some places I was in awe. But most of the time I was struck by how bizarre and surreal this film is. It’s populated with characters that don’t have to worry about money, and are so consumed with their own problems that they don’t give much thought to anything else. They never seem to do anything, and their lives seem empty.

For Jep, he’s reminded of the past and the love that he lost, and he realizes that he’s never truly got over that, and for all his efforts of living he’s never reached the height of happiness that he reached with her. It’s a fairly drawn-out film and at points I did find my attention waning because it does something that I hate – it puts in random things pretending that it’s deep and profound, but it just comes off as pretentious. My flatmate was walking in and out of the room and every time he came in he expressed disbelief and asked me what on earth I was watching.  And yet it’s oddly compelling. Servillo is the pivot around which the film rotates, while the cinematography is just gorgeous.

The languid pace does hurt it though, and I think what the film ends up saying probably isn’t worth sitting through over two hours. So I’m not recommending this one, I think you might enjoy it if you like Italian films and you want to get lost in another city, but if you want  a good film about Rome I’d watch To Rome With Love over this one.

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