The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza)


Starting with the obvious: this film beat The Hunt for the Foreign Oscar, so it had quite an impression to make on me to support that result. To me, Beauty is a mere shadow of a movie in comparison on almost every level, other than, perhaps, cinematography.

Now, if you’re looking for a modern Felini-like experience, this film is probably for you. Sorrentino (This Must Be the Place) creates a visual and aural hypnotic musing through the mind of a self-made socialite and writer. Night life is both beautiful and crass, joyful and desperate, intellectual and void of content. And let us not forget the absurdities.

But, much like its message, this film is, ultimately, pointless. And while that may have been fine if it were 40 minutes shorter and hadn’t won the Oscar, it feels more like a cheat and a waste than worth the time I spent. However, the quality of the craft forces me to keep it at a higher rating.

Of course, you should make up your own mind on this one. I fully admit I came to it expecting more. As pretty as the result is, I don’t understand the outpouring of praise for what felt like a warmed-over idea and style. Feel free to see it and tell me I’m wrong. But see The Hunt as well to compare the films overall to understand my reaction before you open a dialogue.  Perhaps without that complication in my own critical mind, I’d be more enamored of the result.

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