I watched this movie three times before I could figure out whether I loved it or hated it.
The jury is still out.
It's not the first time I feel this contradiction, but it's the first time it does not involve a relationship with a man.
How then will I go about to convince you to watch this movie, being fully aware that you might curse me later?
I am willing to take a chance.
Just in case, here are some disclosure, so you'll know what you are getting into.
Reasons to watch The Great Beauty.
#1 The Soundtrack.
Would you put Georges Bizet, Annie Lennox, David Lang, Henryk Mikolaj Gorecki, Arvo Part and El Gato DJ not just in the same sentence, but in the same movie. If only for this deliberate act of profanity, the director Paolo Sorrentino, should have been awarded not only the Oscar but also a Grammy.
#2 The Stage Design.
Keep this in mind: you will never again see a most stunning portrait of Rome. Ever.
Also, you will never see Rome more deserted.
Rome is usually crawling with humanity.
Not in this movie. Enjoy.
#3 The Costume Design.
Whether he is going to a funeral or to a strip club, NOBODY dresses better than an Italian man.
This is a fact. Deal with it.
In the United States, for instance, a man wearing a red suit better be riding a sleigh carried by reindeers.
#4 Fellini 2.0
If you are a fan of Federico Fellini you should not have any problem viewing The Great Beauty. You are probably familiar with grotesque, burlesque, religious iconography, caricature and apparent nonsense (only apparent).
If this is the case, you are going to feel right at home.
Director Paolo Sorrentino is depicting a society of narcissists where the young are sick or dying and the aging survivors, are left with only memories and unanswered questions.
The lymph is drying, the embers are cooling off. How long is The Great Beauty going to last?
Mamaspice rating: two thumbs up and two ulcers (for Italians). Two thumbs up for all other viewers.