11 March 2013 | blanche-2
not a very good film version of a good musical
The movie version of the musical "Nine" (based on Fellini's 8-1/2) was released in 2009 with a wonderful cast that included Daniel Day-Lewis as Guido, Marion Cotillard as his wife Luisa, Penelope Cruz as his mistress Carla, Kate Hudson as a reporter, Judy Dench as his costumer, Nicole Kidman as his muse Claudia, Fergie as a woman on the beach, and Sophia Loren as his mother.
I am at a disadvantage because I didn't see the musical, but quite a bit was cut from the score, which is a shame. The music is wonderful and probably was meant to be sung a little better than it was in the film.
"Nine" is the story of a great filmmaker, Guido Contini, who is about to make another film but doesn't actually have another one. His life is a mess - a wife, a mistress, no script, and no inspiration. He has to come to grips with his immaturity, his women, and with the reality of his life before he can move on.
Each of Guido's women has a song that expresses her feelings, the most famous of which is "Phone Call from the Vatican," sung by Carla (Cruz). This number was performed by the late Anita Morris on stage and considered very risqué. For me, the best filmed number in the whole film was "Cinema Italiano," done by Kate Hudson, and Judi Dench does a great job with the "Folies Bergere" number. "Unusual Way" is perhaps the prettiest song in the score, and that was done by Nicole Kidman.
We don't get much of a chance to know the women in Guido's life with the exception of Luisa (Cotillard) who gives a lovely, gentle performance as a woman who loves her husband but is continually hurt by him, and Carla, who despite her overt sexiness, is actually very fragile. And we get to know Lilli, the costumer, who knows Guido very well indeed and is the voice of reason.
The movie is pretty to look at, and the women are absolutely stunning, particularly Cotillard, Kidman, and Cruz, who looked like goddesses. Daniel Day-Lewis lived in Italy for a while and his accent is excellent. He's handsome and sexy, possibly more introverted than one of the stage Guidos - Raul Julia, Antonio Banderes, Sergio Franchi, or John Stamos.
Since this film moves slowly in parts, it's curious that so many songs were left out.
In the final analysis, though I liked parts of "Nine," I think it's too theatrical a show to lend itself to film. As a theater piece, it's fabulous - the original show was a hit, as was the revival.
I know some people hated this movie, but it's not awful. It's just not great.