Nine (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/12/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 119 mins

Enjoyable, beautifully shot and superbly acted musical, heightened by show-stoppingly sexy musical numbers, even if the songs themselves aren't especially memorable.

What's it all about?
Not to be confused with 9, District 9 or The Nines, Nine is directed by Rob Marshall (Chicago) and based on the stage musical that was adapted from Federico Fellini's Oscar-winning, semi-autobiographical 1963 film 8 ½. Set in the 1960s, the film stars Daniel Day-Lewis as world famous Italian film director Guido Contini, who's about to go into production on his highly anticipated ninth film, even though he doesn't have a script and is suffering from a severe case of writer-director's block.

In search of inspiration and prompted by several real life encounters, Guido thinks back over all the women in his life, including his long-suffering wife Luisa (Marion Cotillard), his smoking hot mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz), his movie star leading lady Claudia (Nicole Kidman), his devoted mother (Sophia Loren), a flirty American Vogue journalist (Kate Hudson), a prostitute from his childhood (Fergie) and his costume designer-slash-lifelong confidante Lilli (Judi Dench).

The Good
The conceit of the film is that each of the women sings a song as Guido daydreams about them - this leads to some scorching hot musical numbers, particularly Cruz's writhing-around-in-lingerie rendition of Call From The Vatican and Cotillard's angry striptease number (specially written for the film), Take It All.

Day-Lewis is terrific as Guido, delivering a pretty convincing Italian accent and generating strong chemistry with each of his gorgeous co-stars. Next to him, the stand-outs are Cotillard and Cruz, though it's worth noting that Hudson delivers what is perhaps her best performance since Almost Famous and there's typically wonderful support from Dench.

The Great
The script (co-written by Anthony Minghella) is excellent, with several enjoyable film in-jokes and running gags (such as the fact that everyone tells Guido they love his early films, i.e. not the more recent flops) as well as some powerfully emotional scenes involving Cotillard's character. It's also beautifully shot throughout, courtesy of Dion Beebe's sumptuous cinematography and some attractive location work.

Ultimately, the only problem with the film is that the songs themselves aren't especially memorable, although there's a chance you'll come out humming along to Fergie's “Be Italian.”

Worth seeing?
Nine is an enjoyable, well written musical that's worth seeing for the terrific performances. Recommended.

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Nine (12A)
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Content updated: 23/10/2017 12:26

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