This Holiday Season, Be Italian.


Arrogant, self-centered movie director Guido Contini finds himself struggling to find meaning, purpose, and a script for his latest film endeavor. With only a week left before shooting begins, he desperately searches for answers and inspiration from his wife, his mistress, his muse, and his mother.

***A famous director loses his inspiration and seeks aid from the various women in his life***
Released in 2009, “Nine” is a drama/musical about a famous Italian director in 1965 (Daniel Day-Lewis) who loses his inspiration, but its urgent he gets it back because his ninth movie is set to start shooting in ten days and he doesn’t even have a script. He turns to the several women in his life for succor: his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penélope Cruz), his costume designer (Judi Dench), his star actress (Nicole Kidman), his mother (Sophia Loren), a fashion journalist (Kate Hudson) and a prostitute from his boyhood (Fergie).
This is an adaptation of the 1982 Broadway musical, also dubbed “Nine,” which itself was based on Federico Fellini's semi-autobiographical 1963 film “8½.” It’s very similar to director Rob Marshall’s “Chicago” (2002), but with a different story, cast and location (Rome and points nearby).
During the first half I wasn’t so sure about the story, but I eventually found myself absorbed into the life of the tormented director and his mid-life crisis. His unfaithfulness to his beautiful wife, Luisa (Cotillard), is off-putting of course, but maybe we should have mercy for a man who has scores of gorgeous women offering themselves to him practically every day. It helps that he WANTS to be free from his adulteries and be true to Luisa.
Yet I have a hard time picturing Guido (Day-Lewis) seeking the amorous attentions of Carla (Cruz) above Luisa. Carla is decent, as far as all-around physical beauty goes, but Luisa has better curves. Both of the characters’ have imaginative dance sequences, but Luisa comes out on top even though her routine is less tantalizing.
Day-Lewis is fascinating as the guilt-stricken director who hasn’t let his fame go to his head. When he asks a cleric for advice about God and his troubles, the vicar responds: “Imagination is God’s garden, don’t let the devil play in it.”
I generally don’t favor musicals where the characters suddenly jump into song & dance while walking at the park or eating dinner. My wife & I sometimes poke fun of these kinds of musicals by mimicking them while doing mundane activities. For me, musicals only work, generally speaking, when the singing/dancing sequences are legitimate, like a performance at a nightclub or one's imagination, both of which were used in "Chicago." Of course it’s more challenging and takes more creativity to incorporate song & dance routines in this manner and keep the movie seamless & realistic. “Nine” does this.
The film runs 1 hour, 58 minutes and was shot in Italy and England.

Relativity Media, The Weinstein Company by Rob Marshall, Michael Tolkin, Anthony Minghella, Arthur Kopit.
Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz.

Genres: Drama, Musical, Romance

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