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The Great Beauty is a film of superlatives! Originally titled La Grande Bellezza, this movie by Italian star director Paolo Sorrentino is so replete with lush, opulent cinematography, it sometimes borders on sensory overload. Having won Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, as well as the Golden Globe, and the BAFTA award in the same category, The Great Beauty is also a critics’ darling and an award-show sweeper – in addition to being hailed as Paolo Sorrentino’s greatest work to date.
Essentially a tragicomedy, it is both a study and a celebration of the hedonism and decadence of its main protagonist – the bon-vivant and modern-day Roman socialite Jep Gambardella (played by an electrifying Toni Servillo). Instead of honing the craft of writing, Gambardella at some point decides to become the self-proclaimed “king of high life” of Rome. After his 65th birthday, he experiences a shock that changes him for good, prompting him to look past the parties and the nightclubs and to discover the sublime beauty of his hometown, the eternal city. In this way, The Great Beauty is a meditation on art, regret, and pleasure – and Sorrentino’s love letter to Rome.
One of the best foreign films I have had the pleasure of watching. If you are familiar with the director [Sorrentino] you will distinctly know it’s one of his films, which is not a bad thing at all. What really makes this film a masterpiece is the characters and lead role acting from Toni Servillo. He is absolutely brilliant while making it all look effortless. His dialogue and intellect throughout are worth a standing ovation. You feel his pain, humor and loneliness, all while maintaining his controlled intellectual ego. On the surface he is content but bored. Inside he is searching for inspiration, as many of us are when you are not occupied with a family, as he plays an aging, single, popular intellect. This film is near perfect and a much watch for anyone.
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