Most of you will probably disagree with this post. Nine isn't the most popular movie, and the critics all hated it. It was long, formulaic, and slightly boring. In fact, the first half hour of the film made me so uncomfortable that I developed a headache. But I kind of loved it.
I loved it for the few moments that (excuse the cliche) took my breath away-- in the way that Italian cinema will take your breath away (before I say more, PLEASE see Io No Ho Paura. Its an amazing Italian film and no one ever takes my rec to watch it. You know who you are.) My movie dates would agree with me-- Kate Hudson, Fergie, and especially Marion Cotillard hit notes that we could feel in our bones, that pulsed through our blood.
Nine tells the story of Maestro Guido Contini and the women who have shaped his life. Contini is Italy's most successful film director when Italian cinema was at its height in the early sixties. We enter Guido's life upon a press conference revealing his new film, 'Italia.'
We meet the seven women (why weren't there nine women? Or why wasn't this film called 'Seven'. Well, Sarah, there already was a Seven, with Brad Pitt from the early ninties, but wasn't there already a Nine as well? Like last month?) who are apparently going to inspire this film that he hasn't yet written-- there are his muse, his confident, his wife, his mistress, his whore, his crush, and his mother. Clever, no?
But what started out as a little cabaret of sexist female stereotypes drew me to tears by the closing number. Penelope Cruz, in her role of 'mistress' grabbed Guido's hand in her final scene, saying words that absolutely broke my heart in their raw state-- "Guido, don't forget me. I am still here-- you go out into the world and make your movies and home to your wife, but I am still here." Her desperation killed me because I understood it.
And then Marion Cotillard--Oh, Marion Cotillard!-- stung us with final number, 'Take it All', uncovering the point of the film. It wasn't about making a movie afterall. It wasn't about finding inspirtation either. It was about women. About what happens when you use them up. See this film for Marion Cotillard's number, if nothing else. Stunning.
I could have done without Sophia Loren, Judi Dench, and Nicole Kidman's ballads-- another reason why most of you will disagree with me. I was supposed to love Sophia's return and Dench's lingering sass, but they just didn't translate as well as the other four. I blame the writing (and Loren's plastic surgeon. Ew.) And I would have liked to see Nicole in a stronger song. But hey-- I'm no Maestro.