The Great Beauty

This isn't her.
This isn’t her.

Original title: La grande bellezza

You’ll have to be in the right mood (perhaps dope enhanced) to enjoy this ode to Rome. It is indeed very beautiful, but it’s also whimsical and 142 minutes long.

Jep, who wrote a great novel once, is a dapper wit with a lifestyle some would dream of. He writes arts features for a highbrow magazine, has an apartment overlooking the Coliseum, and gets invited to everything. “I didn’t just want to go to the best parties,” he says of his original goal, “I wanted the power to make them a failure.”

Now he’s getting older and is painfully aware of the emptiness of all that fun, but he still finds it hard to resist. We follow him around (a strangely traffic-free) Rome from party to show to funeral, where wonder turns to farce turns to tragedy and back again.

It’s a visual feast, though by the end it feels rather like a great art exhibition with one too many rooms.  7/10

Released January 23, 2014.

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