The Great Beauty won best foreign film at the Oscars this year and I only just got around to watching it. It follows the story of Jep Gambardell (Toni Servillo), a 65 year old man who's seduced his way through the high life of Rome for many many years. After he is visited by a few separate friends, new and old, he realises that life isn't all in his parties and his friendships and so he tries to look at the real beauty that's present in his slowly dying world.
The Great Beauty is a unique and somewhat unforgettable journey. The film is incredibly original, it's unlike any film that I've seen before. It's always wonderful to experience a movie that not only takes you on a journey, but takes you on a journey that is unheard of and something entirely new. This film is just that. It's more than just a movie, it's a new way of looking at life in general and the film is something that I'm not going to be forgetting in a long time.
The film's slow pacing makes it hard to follow at many moments throughout. The Great Beauty is a very slow paced film, but it's far from uneventful. There is plenty happening on screen for the viewer to enjoy, but the actual storyline itself takes time to develop. This is both a flaw and not a flaw. It does make the film dull at times, infrequently though, and made me wonder why I'm even attempting to sit through it all, but by the time the credits rolled I was very thankful that I did.
The performances in the film were incredible. I've only recently begun my venture into foreign language films so I'm unfamiliar with any of the actors or any of their previous works, but I can honestly say that they were all just amazing. Toni Servillo gives an absolutely incredible performance as Jep. I would say he's the perfect casting, but I've literally got nobody to compare him to.
The soundtrack alone makes this film worthy of the Oscar it won. Although hardly any of the soundtrack was an original score it is still one of the most toe tapping, body shaking soundtracks all year. The party scenes in the film were literally to die for. They almost match the vitality of the party scenes that last year's wonderful The Great Gatsby brought onto our screens.
To sum up, The Great Beauty's slow pacing may loose some viewers over, but when stuck through to the closing credits the film really is unforgettable. The performances were amazing, the storyline was unique and the soundtrack toe tapping.
3 1/2 Stars