(1-2-10) Greetings again from the darkness. I am so conflicted on how to analyze the film and what to say. Being a fan of Fellini’s 8 1/2, I really was hoping director Rob Marshall (Chicago) could pull it off. The cast is dazzling and deep. The question begged, would it be an homage to Fellini, the Broadway musical or go a different route altogether? After seeing the film, I still can’t answer that question and that’s a major problem.
The great Daniel Day-Lewis is in the key Guido role. His musical numbers lack punch, but the rest of his performance is outstanding. All of the brilliant women do the most possible with their musical numbers. Penelope Cruz is quite provocative (as the mistress), Nicole Kidman is classy as the starlet, Fergie is explosive as Guido’s childhood obsession, Kate Hudson is energetic as the lusty American, Judi Dench is sage as the muse, and Sophia Loren comes off as royalty as Guido’s mom.
You will note that I failed to mention Marion Cotillard. The reason is that she stands out among the others. Her first number is the key to the film and the first real emotion that we get. She is outstanding and deserves recognition that she probably won’t get.
Each of the stars is just that … a star. The film never really allows us to connect to a character. There are so many fine pieces, but the lack of cohesiveness causes this one to be a near miss as a complete film. Don’t let this scare you away. If you haven’t already done so, seek out Fellini’s 8 1/2 .. THAT one is definitely worth your time.