Film Review: THE GREAT BEAUTY

THE GREAT BEAUTY
Written and Directed by Paolo Sorrentino
Starring: Toni Servillo (and many Italian actors)

Jep, the author of a successful novel many years ago, is turning 65 and the movie begins with a party equaling those in a Fellini movie, which is what this film is a tribute to in many ways. In the interim years, Jep has been a journalist (covering many shallow but glamorous stories) but mostly he’s been a dilettante or hedonist. He’s the toast of Rome but a disappointment to himself. He knows he is too old for the party scene and such a frivolous life, but is unable to come up with another novel, another life.

An old friend comes to tell him his wife has died and that she harbored a lifelong yearning for Jep. This sends Jep into an examination of that youthful affair and of his life, in general. Is being the toast of Rome because of your fabulous parties, your wardrobe and your influence enough for a man?

This is a long but brilliant examination of such a life. It will remind you of La Dolce Vita and many Fellini movies. Toni Servillo is brilliant as Jep. Before this film, I have only seen him playing mobsters and political figures. He completely inhabits this part and he is one of the most complexly drawn characters I have seen in a long time. Highly recommended.

Patti Abbott