a kate west review
directed by Rob Marshall
music & lyrics by Maury Yeston (Andrea Guerra)
original book by Arthur Kopit
screenplay by Anthony Minghella & Michael Tolkin

Already a playful adaptation of Federico Fellini's famous semi-autobiographical film "8 1/2", the Tony-award winning musical "Nine" is now a major motion picture. Starring Daniel Day Lewis and directed by Rob Marshall ("Chicago"), it blurs the line between fantasy and memory, reality and dreams.

Guido Contini (Daniel Day Lewis) is a 1960's world famous film director at a crisis in life. He's a notorious womanizer, yet loves his wife Luisa dearly (the adorable Marion Cotillard). He can't help it - he's always loved women, starting with his incredible Mother (the incomparable Sophia Loren) and his first love, the local prostitute, Saraghina (fabulously depicted by Fergie) to his sultry mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz) and the idolized movie star Claudia Jensson (Nicole Kidman).

Deep down Contini wants to be good and needs to be loved, but mistakes worship for the real thing. What he knows best is making movies and in the course of the film, we see his desire for women conflict with his strict Catholic upbringing, creating the tortured self-absorbed egomaniac with a genius for cinematic art. His charisma will only carry him so far, and eventually everyone gets fed up with him, from his hard-working Producer to his long-suffering wife.

Marion Cotillard ("La Vie En Rose") has the most touching and tender scenes in the movie, plaintively singing "My Husband Makes Movies" as he continues to neglect her. The musical scenes are all great in fact, especially Fergie's stompingly lusty "Be Italian" and Cruz's sexy "Call to the Vatican". Most of the actors can sing, with the exception of Lewis and Judi Dench (as the matronly Costumer Lilli), but their immaculately strong performances carry them through beautifully. Kate Hudson plays an American reporter Stephanie in a brand new number "Cinema Italiano", shot like a sparkly Versace runway show.

True, the costuming and 1960's look is très chic, but the movie lacks a true heart, in spite of the excellent cast. Guido Contini should be the charming devil-may-care rascal who wins us over, but he's so tired and desolate by the end, he has nothing left to give. Small changes from musical to film (won't give it away here), don't make much of a difference, but as this is a difficult musical to begin with, technically and emotionally, it's a tough transition to screen that Director Rob Marshall just quite can't pull off.

Still, it's got some fun numbers and a few cool retro looks here and there, so is definitely well worth a viewing.

Directed byRob Marshall
Produced byRob Marshall
Marc Platt
Harvey Weinstein
John DeLuca
Maury Yeston
Written byAnthony Minghella
Michael Tolkin
StarringDaniel Day-Lewis
Marion Cotillard
Penélope Cruz
Judi Dench
Kate Hudson
Nicole Kidman
Sophia Loren
Music byAndrea Guerra (Score)
Maury Yeston (Songs)
CinematographyDion Beebe
Editing byClaire Simpson
Wyatt Smith
StudioRelativity Media
Distributed byThe Weinstein Company


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