The Italian film, THE GREAT BEAUTY, has earned an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Film, and chances are good that it will take home that Oscar.
It's a haunting and beautiful movie with gorgeous cinematography and a soundtrack full of dreamlike music.
The main character is a wealthy, sophisticated celebrity journalist in Rome who's just turned 65 and has started to wonder if his life of pleasure has prevented him from experiencing real love and beauty.
"When I came to Rome at the age of 26, I fell pretty swiftly, almost without realizing it, into what might be called the whirl of night life. But I didn't just want to live the high life. I wanted to become its king. I didn't just want to go to parties. I wanted to have the power to make them a failure."
Toni Servillo is the charming Jep Gambardella, king of the high life in Rome. His home is an apartment overlooking the coliseum. Forty years ago he became famous for writing a highly praised novel, and he's lived on his laurels ever since.
But now, at his wild 65th birthday party, he learns that his first real love has died and also that he was the only man she ever loved. This sobering news puts him in a reflective mood and he begins to look at his life in a different way.
The cinematography by Luca Bigazzi is simply gorgeous. The camera glides through scenes that feel like dreams. The images are sometimes bizarre, reminiscent of the films of Federico Fellini. But though director Paolo Sorrentino may have been inspired by Fellini, this film is much more than imitation.
Jep (voice over): "It's all settled beneath the chattering and the noise. Silence and sentiment, emotion and fear. The haggard inconstant splashes of beauty and the wretched squalor of miserable humanity."
Though THE GREAT BEAUTY won't please everyone, audiences who appreciate the art of cinema should not miss this movie.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now firstname.lastname@example.org