Running Time: 118 minutes
Release date: 21 January 2010
Directed and co produced by Rob Marshall (Chicago) this musical follows the story of ageing Italian film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day Lewis) struggling with writers block to commence his long anticipated next film titles Italia. Shackled to past glories of his early films and facing his midlife crisis with the ensuing anxiety attacks his childhood experiences come to the fore. This together with the influential women in his life, his deceased mumma (Sophia Loren), wife Luisa (Marion Cottilard), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his actress muse Claudia (Nicole Kidman), confidante/costume designer Lilli (Judith Dench), American fashion journo Stephanie (Kate Hudson) and local prostitute where he was raised Saraghina (Fergie) have shaped his life. This is played out with flashbacks into his strict catholic upbringing and interspersed with outbreaks of songs.
The screenplay by Michael Tonkin and Anthony Mingella based on Arthur Kopit’s book for the 1982 musical of the same name. It is based on Frederico Fellini’s semiautobiographical film 8 1/2, the stylings, characters and portrayals are an homage which is probably why this film has attracted a lot of criticism as you keep thinking what a silly tribute to such a classic film. However if you take it as a stand alone musical with a cast of worthy award winning actors it is easy to be more forgiving and just enjoy the visual spectacle and have a glimspe into whether their acting abilities translate into singing. Daniel Day Lewis almost perfected his Italian accent and was suprising good with his vocals. The best musical performance would go to Fergie which is hardly surprising down to the most annoying which is a toss between Kate Hudson and Nicole Kidman. Nicole was cast well in her diva muse part however she just doesn’t have that mysterious allure of Anita Eckberg (sorry I’m back tocomparisons with 8 1/2 again) though the script hardly gave her anything to work with. Kate Hudson was just irritating. Judy, Penelope and Marion were the pick of the female cast. The screenplay’s treatment of these female characters left some of them as more caracatures rather than real sources of inspiration which let the overall theme down.