The reviews were overwhelmingly bad, but I knew I would ultimately see this movie for two reasons. One is that P.T., who has excellent judgment on everything, said that while it isn't a great picture, it is enjoyable. The second reason is more personal.
New York City mayors participate in the annual "Inner Circle" show produced by members of the city's press corps. The reporters perform in two acts and the mayor follows. Mayor John Lindsay started the tradition of performing with cast members from a Broadway show which all mayors succeeding him have continued to do. I participated in 12 "Inner Circle" shows, and one of my performances included the cast of the then hit show Nine. I played the role of director Guido Contini, portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis in this film.
The cast of this movie includes Guido's wife, Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his mistress, Carla (Penelope Cruz), wardrobe designer Lilli (Judi Dench), a reporter, Stephanie (Kate Hudson), and Sophia Loren as Guido's mother.
Guido is shown both as a child and a movie director engaged in shooting a film but unable to come up with a script. How he handles the women in his life, including his friend Lilli and best of all his mother, is the text of the film. When I met Sophia Loren back in the '80s at City Hall (she was wearing her aviator glasses), I thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world and still do. She is also exceedingly smart.
This film is filled with fantasy music and dance numbers with each of the women in Guido's life starring in her own beautifully staged vignette. Some are wonderful and some good, not great. Though the film is uneven, it is worth seeing for the good parts. Daniel Day-Lewis does a credible job as the depressed film director who has career troubles as well as women troubles.
This movie brought back memorable moments for me. I agree with PT that it isn't a great film, but I'm glad I didn't miss it. The acting, scenes of Italy including Rome, and the music provided an evening of pleasure. I saw the picture at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue
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