Friday, 28 February 2014


Directed by Paolo Sorrentino


This is a bit reminiscent of 2012. The Master was so good, I remember actually laughing in the dark of a London cinema – in awe and admiration. But then there was Holy Motors, which was genius against talent, Mulholland Drive against Blue Velvet.  This year the Coens released the brilliant Inside Llewyn Davis (Oscar people should be hanged), and yet who could forget this sprawling Italian epic that is just on a wholly different level of greatness.

To me, reviewing this film is akin to writing about the best work of my favourite classical composer. It should just be a list of superlatives battling with each other for the top spot. Magnificent, overwhelming, inspiring. Or I could just go for pathetic metaphors, and compare the experience of watching The Great Beauty to growing wings and flying over Rome on a clear day.  

This film is Paolo Sorrentino’s ode to art, beauty and, incidentally, the eternal city. But it’s not just poetic and ephemeral – it can also be cruel and vulgar when it needs to. And it’s not just classical music of transcendental variety playing over the Tiber river. It’s club bangers, too, blasting at full speed during wild, extravagant parties. The aesthetic joy of watching this film is truly singular. The scenes and images are powerful and they will stay with you forever, like that gorgeous girl staring at Jep Gambardella from his all-too distant past. 

Quite simply, The Great Beauty is why you should love cinema. It’s clever, complex… and inexplicably beautiful.

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