Seth Andal’s review published on Letterboxd:
Everytime I watch one of these all-time classics and feel underwhelmed I can only think about the other films I’ve rated higher. I, while trying to lower these expectations, really wanted to fall in love with 8½. It seemed to have the meta self-awareness in its premise that would draw me in. I don’t think 8½ is bad or mediocre by any means, nor did I struggle to find at least a couple things I sincerely appreciated. It just isn’t the masterpiece I hoped it to be, with it failing to really resonate with me. 12 Angry Men remains the reigning boomer movie, in my humble opinion.
What I did enjoy - when I wasn’t half-asleep - was the hyper-dramatic score paired with the dynamic direction when it counted. The introduction to our main character was the one part of the film that I thought was great; this scene being from 5:55 to 9:19 on the full movie copy posted on YouTube. It features Ride of the Valkyries in some pretty eye-catching visuals up to where the incredibly iconic Concertino alle terme is played at 8:09. So good. The part where the song freezes and Guido drops his glasses: chef’s kiss.
Otherwise, the only thing that held on for me were the themes on the filmmaking process. It stops right there though, as I wasn’t really captured by it and I didn’t get it enough to truly appreciate the film. It’s hard for me to sincerely enjoy this when I barely remember anything else that happened. Not any other moments stood out to me, so I guess I’ll give this is a proper rewatch down the line. I’m really dancing between a 6 or 7 out of 10 (between not even being able to finish it in one sitting versus its score, themes, and being a popular influence on Pulp Fiction). As far as Italian love-letter cinema goes, I’d recommend Cinema Paradiso instead.