Nine. I’ve spent the past few days trying to come up with how to review the film Nine. And really, this isn’t so much a review as more of a gush. So be forewarned. I will be gushing.
Nine is the story of Guido Contini, an Italian writer/director who has his next film, Italia, ready to start production. Except for the minor detail of no script. Who needs a script? You have magnificent costumes designed by the charming Lilli, the ever amazing Judi Dench.
Guido, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, is a charming self absorbed man, with just a few too many woman on his arm. His mistress, Carla (Penelope Cruz), wife, Luisa (Marion Cotillard), muse, Claudia (Nicole Kidman), ghost of a mother, Sophia Loren, and a new flirtation, a Vogue fashion journalist (Kate Hudson)
Set in Italy in the 1960’s, the bulk of the film takes place over just a couple days, with flashbacks from Guido’s childhood mixed in, then a jump of a couple years towards the end of the film. It is a stunning mix of scenery, sets, and musical numbers that leave you breathless.
The overall story is sad, with Guido not caring with true depth for any one woman, yet all are in love with him. A wife who thought every special moment they shared was there’s, only to find out, some of those special moments have happened with other women. A mistress who wants to be with her lover, only he keeps her hidden. An actress who has been in several of his films, and has loved him from afar. And while I think Guido and selfish man, I can totally understand this amazing fascination with him. (Daniel Day-Lewis is not an actor I like, but oh my gosh, I fell in love with him as Guido.) I can completely understand why all these women flock around him. He’s charming and sweet and artistic….. when he wants to be.
It’s a character film. You get lost in the intricacies of the characters, and the songs, sung by the actors themselves, bring the problems home. While I can’t say as you are truly happy by the end of the film, you can’t help but love it. Or at least, that is the way I feel about it. I can’t see any guy really appreciating it, my father being one of those.
The music itself is something that needs another whole post unto itself. Lyrical, stunning, Rogers and Hammerstein-esque, I have the music stuck in my head. I loved it so much I got the album and have listened to it twice today. With lines like “Long ago, twenty years ago,once the names were Guido Contini, Luisa his lover, actress with dreams and a life of her own…” from “My Husband Makes Movies”, you really start to feel for the wife, Luisa. I can totally relate to that feeling of losing yourself in a relationship.
There are many aspects that a woman can relate to in this film. And I can see why it was such a smash hit on Broadway. In film, it flopped, though I don’t think it should have. I highly recommend this movie if you enjoy musicals and in-depth stories.
I’d gush more, but I fear I can’t really describe everything that hits me about this film. Just watch it and see for yourself. Me? Well, I plan to get the film to watch again and again, one of these days. I’ll add it to my section of films that my family doesn’t get why I like. The Pride and Prejudice, Audrey Hepburn collection, anything British BBC-ish…. films. Maybe being a writer makes me like quirky films.