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THE GREAT BEAUTY (review)

la_grande_bellezza_ver2THE GREAT BEAUTY
Written by Paolo Sorrentino and Umberto Contarello
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino

Starring Toni Servillo

The title of Paolo Sorrentino’s film can also easily be said of the film itself; THE GREAT BEAUTY is just absolutely beautiful. The film follows Jep (Toni Servillo), an elderly novelist trying to find beauty in the world. The problem is, in Jep’s world, there is beauty all around him and he needs to see past this surface beauty. He must dig deeper into the beauty that surrounds him and find its true ugliness.

The film opens with a short scene showing daytime beauty – a tour guide leading tourists through a gorgeous park – and then cuts to beauty in the night – a long, perfectly choreographed party sequence, that is easily the best scene in the film. Jep encounters many different things that are considered to be beautiful. He sees many beautiful paintings, but is disinterested. He sees a world-renowned performance artist (similar to Marina Abramovich) and questions her methods, to which she defensively replies, “I’m an artist, I don’t need to explain”.

sorrentino
The film finds its greatness in its direction and visuals. Though the film is at times slightly incoherent, it is both beautifully shot and choreographed. Things might feel awfully familiar if you’ve watched a Fellini film before watching THE GREAT BEAUTY, but this is one of the joys of the film. It’s been far too long since a filmmaker was able to capture Fellini’s style and make it feel like a great homage instead of a bad rip off. If you’re going to see one Italian film this year, do yourself a favor and make it THE GREAT BEAUTY.

4.5

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