CinemaClown’s review published on Letterboxd:
Winner of last year's Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Great Beauty (also known as La grande bellezza) is an intricate look into the lives of the riches in the beautiful city of Rome which, by focusing on an aging socialite, aims to portray the emptiness that abounds some of these people despite having almost everything that money can buy.
The Great Beauty tells the story of Jep Gambardella; a disillusioned man whose first & only novel, which he wrote in his youth, turned out to be such a huge success that he ultimately retired to a life of fame & success. But when an unexpected incident occurs near his 65th birthday, he takes a look back at his own life, and after looking past all nightclubs & parties, ends up finding Rome in all its glory.
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, the first half of the film is brilliantly executed for we witness Jep reviewing the complete hollowness the past few decades of his social life has been despite appearing awesome from the outside but the second half just gets way too convoluted in my opinion as the film meanders on for too long & overstays its welcome in the end.
There's still a lot to like here. Rome is captured in all its beauty & charm, thanks to its gorgeous cinematography. Tom Servillo delivers a strong & compelling performance in the role of Jep. The film's depiction of emptiness abounding people of all kinds, whether rich or poor, is addressed nicely, and its background score is absolutely mesmerising from start to finish.
On an overall scale, The Great Beauty has a lot going on over the course of its runtime and even though I really liked its central performance & appreciate the artistic wizardry it brings on screen when it comes to capturing the streets or nightlife of Rome, the cinematic experience was still quite underwhelming than expected, thanks to its prolonged narration & complicated allegories. Won't be visiting it anymore.