Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Dec 13, 2013
    80
    It’s a Fellini-esque carnival of humanity on display, a more debauched phantasmagoria reminiscent of “La Dolce Vita.” But “La Dolce Vita” created the paparazzi; The Great Beauty takes place in a world where the paparazzi have existed for decades.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 22, 2013
    42
    The melancholy in this film is just as trumped up as the frenzy.
  3. Reviewed by: Guy Lodge
    Oct 22, 2013
    60
    Sumptuous and self-indulgent, Sorrentino's latest is a Fellini-like feast for the eyes.
  4. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Oct 22, 2013
    77
    Gambardella’s world-weary look back at his sweet life, eclipsed by his turning sixty-five, is a dizzying fantasia of flash and filigree, and what it lacks in direct narrative is well patched-over with frenetic and emotion-rich sequences. This movie is a sight and sound workout.
  5. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Nov 21, 2013
    90
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Nov 14, 2013
    80
    Sorrentino’s dazzling tribute to Roman indulgence is a bittersweet, slightly surreal epic.
  7. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Nov 22, 2013
    90
    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.
  8. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Nov 15, 2013
    88
    There’s an exhilarating sadness to it all that amounts to cinematic poetry.
  9. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    Nov 15, 2013
    90
    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.
  10. Reviewed by: Simon Abrams
    Nov 15, 2013
    100
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Nov 15, 2013
    90
    The Great Beauty is an ironic and passionate near-masterwork, like a nine-course dessert that makes you entirely forget the meal.
  12. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Dec 5, 2013
    100
    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.
  13. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Nov 11, 2013
    63
    Paolo Sorrentino's film is really just a huge turn-on that has the bad manners to go sour, succumbing to its own self-delusions of moral/political grandeur.
  14. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 30, 2014
    91
    The pointlessness of Jep's journey is Sorrentino's point, richly made.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Nov 13, 2013
    75
    A lovely but rambling excursion through moneyed Rome, the film can’t have remotely the same impact as its predecessor, but it does offer a cornucopia of dazzling images—so many, frankly, that it becomes a bit exhausting, especially at nearly two and a half hours.
  16. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Nov 13, 2013
    70
    Little beyond Servillo’s presence gives the film any ballast, which is both asset and liability, freeing Sorrentino to pepper the screen with wild setpieces and fits of inspiration while encouraging a certain shapelessness.
  17. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jan 31, 2014
    88
    An utterly ravishing portrait of listless luxuriance, a fantasy of decadent wealth and beauty.
  18. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    May 26, 2013
    100
    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.
  19. Reviewed by: Deborah Young
    May 26, 2013
    80
    Though Sorrentino’s vision of moral chaos and disorder, spiritual and emotional emptiness at this moment in time is even darker than Fellini’s...he describes it all in a pleasingly creative way that pulls audiences in through humor and excess.
  20. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Nov 14, 2013
    100
    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.
  21. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Nov 22, 2013
    90
    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]
  22. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    May 26, 2013
    75
    La Grande Bellezza washes over you in series of scenes, visages, sensations and impressions, and although in this case it doesn't quite gel into a cohesive whole, it's nonetheless a journey worth taking; a travelogue through memory and dreams, in which life is greatest fiction we could ever create.
  23. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    May 26, 2013
    100
    A shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst, your mind swim and your soul roar.
  24. Reviewed by: Dave Calhoun
    May 26, 2013
    100
    It’s an exploration of all things surface, yes, but it has soul too.
  25. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Nov 12, 2013
    80
    If Marcello Mastroianni’s character from "La Dolce Vita" hadn’t stepped off the sweet-life treadmill, this is exactly who he would have become.
  26. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Oct 22, 2013
    80
    Splashes of overstatement aside, the ambition intoxicates.
  27. Reviewed by:  Jay Weissberg
    May 26, 2013
    90
    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.
  28. Reviewed by: Michael Atkinson
    Nov 12, 2013
    100
    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.
  29. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Nov 27, 2013
    88
    [Director Paolo Sorrentino] collects scenes of superficial extravagance and eccentricity, then finds the deeper yearnings they conceal.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 92 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Dec 21, 2013
    10
    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 beauty.beauty 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
    6
    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
    5
    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 »