The Great Beauty 2013

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(101) IMDb 7.7/10
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Jep Gambardella, a 65-year-old journalist and once promising novelist, spends his easy life among Rome’s high society in a swirl of rooftop parties and late-night soirees. But when he learns of the death of his friend’s wife – a woman he loved as an 18-year-old – his life is thrown into perspective and he begins to see the world through new eyes. A dazzling, dizzying, mesmerising and hypnotic cinematic tour-de-force that has drawn comparisons with Italian greats such as La Dolce Vita and La Notte. A triumphant return to form for world-renowned visionary director Paulo Sorrentino (Il Divo, This Must Be The Place). Starring the multi award-winning Toni Servillo (Il Divo, Gomorrah). Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival 2013, the film was hotly tipped for the Palme d’Or. 5 STARS – Time Out, The Telegraph, The Irish Times.

Starring:
Carlo Buccirosso, Iaia Forte
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 21 minutes
Starring Carlo Buccirosso, Iaia Forte, Pamela Villoresi, Giorgio Pasotti, Massimo Popolizio, Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli
Director Paolo Sorrentino
Genres Comedy
Studio Artificial Eye
Rental release 13 January 2014
Main languages Italian
Subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 2 hours 21 minutes
Starring Carlo Buccirosso, Iaia Forte, Pamela Villoresi, Giorgio Pasotti, Massimo Popolizio, Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli
Director Paolo Sorrentino
Genres Comedy
Studio Fusion Media Sales
Rental release 13 January 2014
Main languages Italian
Subtitles English

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By FA Vine on 28 Aug 2014
Format: DVD
Intense, ironically beautiful and at times almost surreal, this is essentially a stunning and profound treatise, expounded with few words and a skeletal, almost non-existent plot, on the limitations of beauty and the elusiveness of happiness in the face of mortality, impermanence and, ultimately, death. Its cascade of startling imagery and quick-fire dialogue, when indeed there is dialogue at all, belies the slow pace of its unfolding theme and meaning; as such, it is perhaps a little over-long and is thus not a film for those of an impatient disposition or short attention span. It is, nonetheless, an amazing achievement, aesthetically, stylistically, technically and philosophically, leavened by laugh-out-loud moments prompted by its sparse but sharp script and an often sudden, powerful and surprising juxtaposition of images. Despite its flaws (and isn't all beauty, after all, ultimately flawed?), I strongly recommend this film to anyone with any kind of enduring interest in cinema and/or the deeper questions of our frail existence.
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84 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Carmelo on 17 Sep 2013
Format: DVD
Totally disagree with the previous review. thought the movie was incredibly engrossing and enjoyed every minute of the 2hr30min duration. For starters, it's a feast for the eyes. Rome itself and the way it is portrayed through the director's beautiful camera work would be enough of a spectacle even without the otherwise beautiful thought-provoking lines the film is punctuated with. I must disagree about the presumed missing depiction of the beauty of ordinary peoples' lives too. In fact it is admirably represented by the likes of Ramona who is a genuine woman devoid of all pretension and yet capable of deep thoughts, such as when she says to a jaded Jep after a night spent together: 'It was great not having sex, it's great being fond of one another', leaving him stunned. Other 'ordinary' people who are juxtaposed to the vacuous partying multitude are Jep's friend, the playwright, who eventually decides to leave that empty world behind and go back to his home village. The theme of going back to one's roots being elegantly represented with a food metaphor through the words of yet another ordinary-extraordinary person who couldn't be further away from the Roman jet set, the saint-nun, who claims she only eats 40 grams of roots a day, because 'roots are important'. I could go on and on, because I was totally mesmerized by this movie, not to mention its soundtrack. I derived absolute pleasure from watching the movie til the end of the credits. Hopefully you will be too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 July 2014
Format: DVD
I started to watch "The Great Beauty" ("Le Grande Bellezza"!) waiting for a thoughtful drama about life, but quickly realised this film is not really that, it's a celebration of life and beauty and youth and companionship. And yes, even though the beauty of it all makes you forget for a minute this, it turns out it is still a thoughtful meditation about life, beautifully told. Told through the eyes of journalist Jep Gambardella (the alluring Toni Servillo, never was I so attracted to the, allegedly, 65 year old).

Jep charmed his way through the extravagant nightlife and artlife of Rome for half a century. Since the much talked about triumph of his one and only novel, he has been a permanent resident in the Eternal City's art circles. Events surrounding his birthday make Jep start to evaluate his life, turning his fabled humour on himself and his comrades, and looking for Rome in all its magnificence, exchanging the extravagant nightclubs for a stroll through [almost] abandoned houses of Italian aristocracy.

I doubt I will be re-watching this film, but I will cherish the memory of it.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By katrina_marina on 28 Oct 2013
Format: DVD
Words - so little to describe so much. I don't mean to sound pretentious or even coy, just gobsmacked at the beauty and variety and depth and shallowness and joy and I loved it. I walked home and the stars seemed brighter and I felt glad to be here on this planet.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Beale on 28 Oct 2013
Format: DVD
A poignant meditation on life undertaken via a voyeuristic tour through Rome, and the lives of some of its most stylish denizens, arguably also the most spiritually lost. The photography is simply beautiful. Although there is no real story, the thread of reflection of the main character provides the logic of the film. Some of the dialogues are laugh out loud hilarious, other situations leave a taste of emptiness and regret. The real subject is the problem of purpose. Of course there are no answers, but it's hard to imagine a more wonderful way to contemplate the question.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Antenna TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Sep 2013
Format: DVD
The "Great Beauty" is the Rome that tourists too often miss, with sunlight playing on fountains and ancient intricate carvings, the haunting voices of choirs floating from balconies, children playing tag with white-robed nuns in lush green gardens glimpsed through stone archways.

Wealthy writer Jep Gambardella knows Rome well, but his appreciation of its beauty is heightened when, in the middle of his extravagant 65th birthday party he is struck by the decadence and vacuity of his life. Later, in post-dinner balcony drinks, the shallowness and empty pretentiousness of so-called close friends becomes almost intolerable. The death of a long-lost girl friend who apparently always loved him from a distance may also remind him of what might have been.

Made sharply aware that time is running out on his dilettante life, Jep does not do much about it, apart from take up with an ageing stripper with a heart, mocked by his snobbish friends for her name Ramona and choice of a see-through dress on her first outing with him. Great beauty seems inseparable from moments of soft porn. Apart from making a visually stunning film, full of people with striking features, often reduced to "living works of art" in their designer costumes, I am unsure what the director Sorrentino is trying to achieve. I would have liked more of a plot, and although I do not mind a film that is largely about visual design combined with music and a few witty comments, at nearly two-and-a-half hours, this is not quite enough to sustain one's interest, plus the frenetic partying became oppressive. Watching all this began to seem perhaps more questionable than the privileged self-delusion and emptiness of the existences lived out in the film.
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