Film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) struggles to keep his professional and private life separate as he must keep the women in his life all happy and well apart, whilst trying to make a new film which is proving to be extremely difficult.
I suppose the best way to start this review is by saying how happy I am now that I have eventually seen this movie, after waiting what seems like forever after the many release changes. I have to say that Nine did certainly not disappoint me, it had a bit of everything in terms of a man’s relationship with all of the different women in his life, from his mother to his wife, his mistress to his friend, a prostitute and a reporter. (All of which are played by an extremely beautiful actress).
Everything we see takes place in Guido’s head, after seeing something in his eyes. We either see him looking back to a previous event in his life which helps explain why he is like that now or does certain things, and then a musical number takes place in his head. Mainly with him watching on, he is trying to use this to write the screenplay for his non-existant movie which everyone is very much waiting for. Especially as the set is being built and costumes being made for something that does not actually exist.
The opening of the movie takes place on set of his new movie, with all the women in his life or who have effected his life appear on the stage to some brilliant music. Thus showing that these are all going to figure in his story at some point. I really liked this opening and found it a good way to get all the women together with some very good dancing around them and grabbing the audience’s attention straight away.
Previous to seeing the film, I had only heard two of the songs “Be Italian” (which was one of the best numbers in the film, especially for the choreography used in it, just brilliant) and “Cinema Italiano” (which sounded good, but not as grabbing as Be Italian in my opinion. This was a very big musical number as well, with the costumes used.) Therefore I did not really know how any of the other music was going to sound, which was probably a good thing for the element of surprise and the differences in the songs but how important they were the to the story and how different characters are feeling.
I found “Take It All” by his wife (Marion Cotillard) just fantastic, showing her breaking out from his shadow and that she gave up everything for him. This number was pretty raunchy involving a striptease (which had me thinking Gypsy Rose Lee). Stating that in the end their will be nothing left of her, which is very emotional and watching you really feel for her. After watching what Guido does to her by having an affair.
“Unusual Way” by the actress (Nicole Kidman) is very emotional and I guess kind of obvious that she would also be in love with Guido as every woman seemed to be. Although while I found this more to be the love song of the movie, it wasnt about two people loving each other. It is more unrequited love from Claudia towards Guido, as they have worked together on his movies over the years. I found this quite heartbreaking as she knows that she cannot have him but in an unusual way loves him.
As Guido has many women in his life, he does at times struggle to decide which one he wants and when he wants them. He has a wife who has given up everything for him, yet still has a mistress I guess this is hard to watch in thinking that given the chance how many men would do that? I have to admit though when we first see Carla’s (Penelope Cruz) husband I actually laughed out loud as he was very ordinary and she was way too pretty for him (is that being picky? but if you have seen or see the movie you will know what I mean).
As you can expect the performances in this movie are just fantastic, but with the calibre of the cast if they weren’t good you would be extremely disappointed. Is there actually any role that Daniel Day-Lewis cannot do? I mean he really does just keep pulling out fantastic performances which are all so different. He even sings! and has a very realistic breakdown when not being able to make the movie. Judi Dench was in a role which seems all too familiar to her now, playing the person the lead talks to and gets encouragement from. She even shows another side of her as well, singing in what was quite an extravagant number. Penleope Cruz as Guido’s mistress was both charming and amusing in her scenes, but for some reason you could not actually hate her! Fergie’s number was just brilliant but I was a little disappointed that she didn’t get any actual lines other than singing and dancing, however I am still quite amazed how different she sounds singing “Be Italian”. Nicole Kidman in her short appearance and number as usual put in a very good performance. Kate Hudson was a little annoying as the reporter but I guess that was the point, I have to say isn’t she looking more and more like Goldie Hawn every time you see her? Sophia Loren as his mother makes appearances from the past as she has already died and he sees her when things are getting tough, she is still a very beautiful woman for her age. I saved my favorite performance til last and that was from Marion Cotillard as Guido’s wife, she really was just so believable in showing the emotions a woman who gave up everything for a man and is still tormented by this. The scene in which she is watching the screen tests and sees Guido do the same thing he done to her on someone else really is heartbreaking and you do not want to watch.
So overall, with the musical numbers in terms of the songs and dancing in them, the acting and general story all coming together as one it really is a very entertaining movie which makes you have some thinking points and getting a little look at how making a movie can drive a director mad!
Will we see this movie at the 2010 Oscars?