The Great Beauty Image

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 94 Ratings

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  • Summary: Jep Gambardella has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades, but after his 65th birthday and a shock from the past, Jep looks past the nightclubs and parties to find a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Robbie Collin
    May 26, 2013
    A shimmering coup de cinema to make your heart burst, your mind swim and your soul roar.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Jan 31, 2014
    An utterly ravishing portrait of listless luxuriance, a fantasy of decadent wealth and beauty.
  5. Reviewed by: Barbara VanDenburgh
    Dec 13, 2013
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Oct 22, 2013
    Splashes of overstatement aside, the ambition intoxicates.
  7. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Nov 22, 2013
    The melancholy in this film is just as trumped up as the frenzy.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 23
  2. Negative: 4 out of 23
  1. Lyn
    Mar 28, 2014
    Not sure I would have understood a movie like this at age 25 ... but though I've not reached the lead character's age (65), his mix of introspection and escapism really struck a chord. His day-to-day life is populated by serious and frivolous people doing frivolous and serious things, but in the pauses between their sometimes weird events, he's thinking deeply about the decisions of his life and what it all means. It helps that the lead actor has a face you can get lost in -- not handsome, but riveting. And visually overall, it's brilliantly inventive without being too "arty." Have to say, for those who might be scared off by all the Fellini references: this is much more coherent than Fellini -- at least it was to me. Expand
  2. Jan 3, 2014
    Vivacious, sexual, vibrant, and enlightening. This is the best film I have seen in years. It is a mixture of Fellini, Antonioni, and Michel Gondry. A visual masterpiece and a directorial triumph. Even better than Inside Llewyn Davis this year. Collapse
  3. 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. Expand
  4. Jan 6, 2014
    Yes this film is flawed in some ways (the script could be better, the sentimental bursts could be less anticipated, less Tornatore-sque, the main character could be more earth-bound etc) but the movie would not be the same then, would it? That's the beauty of the "cinema de createur": the spectator's brain is set in motion and it is compelled to draw conclusions, to admire or to dislike, to feel, to understand and sympathise with the character's (or the director's) flaws. This movie may not be a masterpiece but it is as close as it gets, and it is worth every minute of watching (multiple times included). Expand
  5. Feb 3, 2014
    After portraying Sean Penn in a weirder role in the movie 'This Must be the Place', the director is back with this. This time he chose to portray again an another old man who used to be a novelist. The story commences on his 65th birthday party. With an awesome music and dance at the beginning, it kicks starts to tell the protagonist's rest of the story.

    Jep is a novelist who gave up writings a long ago. On his 65th birthday, he decides to enjoy the rest of his last stage of the life. Roaming around the city of ruined Rome, he discovers similar to his earlier phase of life in people who encounters on the streets. Especially the first girl he admired the most when he was in the 20s. The screen shares between past and present in the presentation. Like a man's in search of a great beauty at the age of dusk.

    An 2014 OSCAR submission from Italy and nominated for short list as well. Will this justify to be nominated? Well, I think yes. Some of the scenes are not quite relevant to the story, just like dragging in from out of the topic. At a time it was artistic and eye catching. Throughout, the music is what well backed the irrelevant material story. Especially the opening and funeral ones were incredible.

    Many scenes had not explained its purpose. Sometime you make scratch your head about not getting the meaning. One of those was the conference of world spiritual leaders takes place. Exactly, it is not about what it's trying to tell us, but the capacity for understanding on stuffs will be tested. This movie can't be enjoyed by everyone, but certain people will find hidden gem and messages or an art form of it in its depth.

    I earlier mentioned it is a irrelevant story, it might be a little harsh to say that because protagonist in the movie itself confused about his remaining life. So he begins to see in people his life reflection and sometime he won't understand others character behaviour. On many occasions he asks them about it, but the answers won't convince him till he himself witness the truth. We had seen in other movies where the protagonist goes to India for self discovery, and that is what here this man does in own city.
  6. 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. Expand
  7. Mar 17, 2014
    I have only walked out on a movie twice. This was the second time. Pretentious, obnoxious, and boring. p.s., It had nothing to say.. Even Rome didn’t look as beautiful as it really is. Expand

See all 23 User Reviews

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