Oscar Winner: The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty, Toni Servillo, Paolo SorrentinoWanted to see The Great Beauty (trailer), the Paolo Sorrentino’s movie that won this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. And could have won for cinematography—in it, Rome is The Great Beauty. Nice score, too. Toni Servillo makes the essentially selfish main character actually charming.

It’s the story of Jep Gambardella, who won fame with one novelette many years before and survives as merely a social creature, someone who knows everyone and whom everyone knows. The send-ups of performance art—and artists—are genuinely funny. But most of the film is linked together only by being in some way over-the-top, with the only authentic exchanges ones Jep has with his maid. You keep waiting for Jep to wake up, because scenes’ link to reality seems so tenuous. The botox clinic, the man with the keys, the giraffe.

The disconnected scenes—from the profane to the sublime—just didn’t add up to much for me. Roger Ebert liked it better than I did. Rotten Tomatoes rating: critics (91%); audience (79%).


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