"The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)" Movie Review: 3 1/2 Stars
by Michael Phillips
The coolest actor on the planet?
At the moment my favorite -- cool, warm, whatever temperature -- is
Servillo's latest role is that of an impeccably dressed, impossibly jaded journalist,
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It's a beauty, all right.
It's more a style show than a deep philosophical treatise, but with surfaces this sleek and faces this interesting, I'll take style over substance any day.
Director and co-writer
He came to
Such observations inform every inch of this charismatic bastard's temperament. He lives in the past and is proud of it; nostalgia is all. He wrote a major novel, his first and only, 40 years earlier as a young man. Then, nothing. The newspaper life, full of late nights and contentious interviews, suits him fine.
Then, in this lightly plotted affair, some conflict. Jep learns of the death of his first and possibly only true love, and something inside him shifts. "The Great Beauty" is about that shift. It is a flamboyantly comic externalization of that shift.
The actors are all choice, particularly
The epilogue completes the notion. We leave Jep and as the end credits roll, Sorrentino closes with an extended shot of the Tiber River at dawn, scored to "The Beatitudes" by Russian composer
The film, I suppose, is limited by a certain smugness -- Jep is the arbiter of taste and class and the exemplar of honesty in this story, and Sorrentino never really tests his protagonist in provocative ways. But Servillo, the actor, suggests so much between what is written, and what we experience visually, that "The Great Beauty" expands in its scope as it goes. A huge hit in
No MPAA rating, Running time: 2:21
"The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)" Movie Trailer
Journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades. He has been a permanent fixture in the city's literary and social circles, but when his sixty-fifth birthday coincides with a shock from the past, Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life