Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Dec 5, 2013
    If you know Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," you'll be unable to watch The Great Beauty without thinking about it. This gorgeous Italian movie, like its predecessor, balances pungent satire and a more melancholy mood in portraying the dissolute world of the upper crust in contemporary Rome.
  2. Reviewed by: Simon Abrams
    Nov 15, 2013
    This 43-year-old filmmaker is a major talent. Though he may not be the second coming of Fellini, his films all have a funny, refreshingly complex perspective, and his latest work is a perfect example of why he is the next big Italian thing.
  3. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 14, 2013
    A deliriously alive movie, The Great Beauty is the story of a man, a city, a country and a cinema, though not necessarily in that order.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Nov 12, 2013
    There's little sense in trying to resist the film's relentless boogie-woogie party vibe, its tumultuous visual banquet, its unpredictable sense of switchblade satire, its fools' parade of modern grotesques, or its river of startling melancholy, turning from a wary trickle to a flash flood by film's end. Sorrentino's vision is the size of Rome itself, and his confidence is dazzling.
  5. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    May 26, 2013
    It’s an exploration of all things surface, yes, but it has soul too.
  6. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    May 26, 2013
    This movie looks and feels superb, it is pure couture cinema. But there is also a excess of richness and bombast and for all its sleekness I felt that the spark of emotion was being hidden, and there is a kind of frustration in the operatic sadness.
  7. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    May 26, 2013
    A shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst, your mind swim and your soul roar.
  8. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 30, 2014
    The pointlessness of Jep's journey is Sorrentino's point, richly made.
  9. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Nov 22, 2013
    Henry James, who loved the place, accused himself of "making a mere Rome of words, talking of a Rome of my own which was no Rome of reality." Sorrentino has made a Rome of images, and taken the same risk. But it was worth it. [25 Nov. 2013, p.134]
  10. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Nov 22, 2013
    The Great Beauty is a subtly daring cinematic high-wire act — an entire film built around one character’s unrealized, unspecified yearning. And it might just be the most unforgettable film of the year.
  11. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 21, 2013
    As its name promises, The Great Beauty is drop-dead gorgeous, a film that is luxuriously, seductively, stunningly cinematic. But more than intoxicating imagery is on director Paolo Sorrentino's mind, a lot more.
  12. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 15, 2013
    The Great Beauty is an ironic and passionate near-masterwork, like a nine-course dessert that makes you entirely forget the meal.
  13. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Nov 15, 2013
    The ghost of Federico Fellini hovers wickedly over The Great Beauty, a fantastic journey around contemporary Rome and a riot of lush imagery juggling past and present, sacred and profane, gorgeous and grotesque.
  14. Reviewed by:  Jay Weissberg
    May 26, 2013
    Sorrentino continues to tackle major topics using an extraordinary combination of broad brushstrokes and minute detail. Passion via the intellect has become his trademark, well suited to this dissection of empty diversions, indulged in by latter-day Neros fiddling while Rome burns.
  15. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jan 31, 2014
    An utterly ravishing portrait of listless luxuriance, a fantasy of decadent wealth and beauty.
  16. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Nov 27, 2013
    [Director Paolo Sorrentino] collects scenes of superficial extravagance and eccentricity, then finds the deeper yearnings they conceal.
  17. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Nov 15, 2013
    There’s an exhilarating sadness to it all that amounts to cinematic poetry.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 100 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 4 out of 24
  1. Dec 21, 2013
    This is not a film of Fellini. perhaps only the Italians can understand it. is closer to a malick's film. nature is replaced by the beauty of the city and the great wakes up at dawn, in the light of the sun. and the beauty is not in the decadence of fashion but in the garden with the children in the trials of a choir, in memory of a love. the beauty that is also salvation is at hand for all. this is the message, but you have to know how to get out of the cynical bunch and take it. Full Review »
  2. Dec 21, 2013
    There is plenty of beauty in this movie, no doubt. I think the director of this movie was trying to make a Fellini-like film, in which he (to some extent) succeeded. The cinematography is brilliant there, but in my opinion, a good movie needs not only a form, no matter how outstanding it is, but some substance as well. And there is none of it, just a stream of consciousness, which is quite popular among professional critics. But I am not a critic, I am just a guy who likes good movies, and this is not one of them. Full Review »
  3. Feb 10, 2014
    This Italian nomination for Best Foreign Film follows a man who's just turned 65. He wrote one successful novel years ago and still spends his days moving in society's circles: dancing at wild parties, having useless conversations, viewing performance art and questioning it all. If you're familiar with Fellini you'll see his touches all over: sumptuous images of Roman life and locations, freaky characters and incongruous imagery all combined in glimpses, not in linear narrative. On the other hand, the film is missing the master's magic. If you're into art films, this might appeal. I found it beautiful to behold, but oh so tedious, labored and indulgent. (At Criterion Cinemas only.) Full Review »