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Nine, 2009 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on February 7, 2010

Director: Rob Marshall
Starring: Daniel Day Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren, Fergie, Kate Hudson

Score: 4 / 10

Reviewed by pjowens75

The movie NINE is based on the Broadway musical “Nine” which is based on the Fellini film “8 ½”, and if you add those together, you get 26 ½. This, of course, has absolutely no bearing on anything at all, except that I was thinking of all this nonsense during the movie itself.
It isn’t that NINE is a bad movie, it just has no spark. It’s like that old fast food commercial, “Where’s the beef?” And that’s too bad, because it’s gorgeous to look at. It’s set in Italy in the 1960’s, and director Rob Marshall and director of photography Dion Beebe have done a marvelous job of capturing the look and feel of the times. And if that were all this movie was about, it would score quite highly on the meter. Alas, there are actors involved, and that’s where things fall apart.

Daniel Day Lewis plays a renowned director about to embark on his latest project. Problem is he has no idea of what it will be. It seems he has lost his muse, which has always been the women in his life. And as he tries to recapture the spirit that has built his reputation, each one of these women makes an appearance, almost all inexplicably dressed in lingerie. And, since it’s a musical, each one sings a song…a truly forgettable song. Five minutes after the closing credits, you can’t recall a single melody. It’s as though each one phoned in their roles, from Penelope Cruz as his stereotypical current mistress, to Fergie, whose music videos have more life.

A spark of hope arose with the appearance of Sophia Loren as Lewis’ mother. Unfortunately, she was confined to the background and never given an opportunity. Look, if you are going to cast one of the greatest Italian actresses of her day in a film, for gosh’ sake, give her something to do. Here it seems her only purpose is to lend a note of authenticity to the entire proceedings. Even the always consistent Dame Judi Dench seems to realize she’s getting nothing back from her fellow actors, and tries too hard to make up for that.

If there is a bright spot, it is Marion Cotillard as his long suffering wife, who is finally getting fed up with his philandering. She is believable throughout her all too brief appearances, and manages to make her musical number (a solo without the scantily clad backup dancers) both poignant and convincing, although for the life of me I can’t remember either the words or the tune. It’s very sad that, in a film filled with beautiful women in lingerie, the only one worth watching was the one who remained fully clothed. She is the only one who invests anything into her role, including Lewis whose acting style just doesn’t work well with a musical, even though he looks like he belongs in sixties Italy.

Which brings us back to the heart of the matter, which is: there is no heart to this matter. Set in a time and place that should be bursting with life, this film has none.

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