Thursday, March 25, 2010


Daniel Day Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman,
Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Marion Cottilard,
Fergie, Kate Hudson

"Be Italian"

The setting is Rome. The time frame is the 1960s. A period where great films were made. But Guido Contini (Daniel Day Lewis), a renowned Italian director is struggling. Both in his personal and professional lives. Thus goes the very promising premise of "Nine". Except it is a musical! So you have the cast bursting into song (and dancing too) in this Rob Marshall directed musical. It was based on the Fellini film, 8 1/2.

I have nothing against musicals. In fact, the song and dance numbers were well choreographed. I now have the song "Cinema Italiano" which was excellently performed by Kate Hudson permanently engraved in my subconscious. I like how Marshall used black and white versus color and vice versa to highlight the internal struggle of Director Contini. Rob Marshall's direction and the editing was seamless and well executed.

A cleverly conceived musical which take you into the troubled mind of Maestro Guido Contini as he questions his ability to make another film. Facing a mid life crisis while trying to balance the many women in his life. His wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his film star Claudia (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer Lilli (Judi Dench), Stephanie an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), Saraghina (Fergie from the Black eyed Peas) the prostitute from his youth and his Mamma (Sophia Loren).

To have these talented pool of actresses in one cast is a visual treat. Then have them sing and dance deserves high praises both for Marshall as well as for the actresses. Each and every one of the them played a vital part in Guido's enigma.

I would give the film a "8 1/2" for its musical numbers. But I would definitely give it a "9" for the way it realistically portrayed the anguished struggle of a film maker battling with his personal demons as he bleeds to come up with a great movie. It is possible to witness it - you simply concentrate hard enough on 'blocking' out the songs and focus instead on Daniel Day Lewis as Maestro Guido Contini's pain!

Try it!

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