Posted in Uncategorized by MOVIE, REVIEWED on January 2, 2010


by Gregory A. Butler

When you adapt a movie from a musical that was adapted from another movie, that in turn is a thinly veiled biography of a real person, then things might tend to get a bit rough around the edges.

That’s kinda what happened with director Rob Marshal’s “Nine”, a musical about the self inflicted midlife professional and romantic crises afflicting fictional Italian director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis – playing a character modeled on real life Italian director Federico Felini).

We meet Contini as he’s driving into Rome’s famed Cinecita studios back in 1965, and he’s about to make his 9th major motion picture (unfortunately, he hasn’t yet written the script!)

But you can kind of understand the oversight – after all, Guido’s got a VERY complicated life – a beautiful wife, Luisa (Marion Cotillard) who used to be his leading lady, a high strung married mistress, Carla (Penelope Cruz) and his current leading lady, the very demanding American movie star Claudia (Nicole Kidman)

So, even with his costume designer/surrogate mother figure Lilli (Judi Dench) – and the ghost of his actual mother, (Sophia Loren) trying to keep Guido on the straight and narrow, this production is not quite going to work out as planned.

This is a musical, so there are song and dance routines throughout the movie – all of which are actually very well done, at least technically speaking (my personal favorite was Carla’s “call from the Vatican” number).

Problem is, they really don’t move the story forward that well – it’s kind of like you take a break from the movie to see a music video.

And that’s a damned shame, because Guido’s personal and professional crisis (and the fact that he brought it all upon himself by taking his art and the women in his life for granted) is very compelling and heart touching material.

There’s also a fascinating subplot about how the Catholic hierarchy publicly condemn Guido’s films – but are secretly his biggest fans.

The film would have benefited from more exploration of that part of the story, and how it relates to how Guido’s innocent childhood sexual curiosity was fiercely punished by his parish priest, and how that may have figured into his later conflicts with the women who love him – but, unfortunately, Marshal and screenwriters Michael Tolkin and Anthony Minghella didn’t go there.

And the imbalance between strong musical numbers and weak plot development is what really weakens this film and flaws what otherwise could have been a very powerful motion picture.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is unwatchably bad – 10 is incredibly awesome) I give “Nine” a 7.1


2 Responses to 'I LIKED YOUR GOOD MOVIES, NOT THE FLOPS – “Nine”, reviewed'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'I LIKED YOUR GOOD MOVIES, NOT THE FLOPS – “Nine”, reviewed'.

  1. Sheri said,

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service? – Thanks

    • That’s some kind of glitch with wordpress’ software – I’ve had the same problem myself!

      I’m not sure if I can fix it from my end – I think you’d have to fix it through wordpress.

      sorry – I wish I could help you more than that!

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