|The Great Beauty|
|Italian||La grande bellezza|
|Directed by||Paolo Sorrentino|
|Story by||Paolo Sorrentino|
|Edited by||Cristiano Travaglioli|
|Music by||Lele Marchitelli|
|Box office||$24.9 million|
The Great Beauty (Italian: La grande bellezza [la ˈɡrande belˈlettsa]) is a 2013 art drama film co-written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Filming took place in Rome starting on 9 August 2012. It premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it was screened in competition for the Palme d'Or. It was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2013 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (winning Grand Prix), and at the 2013 Reykjavik European Film Festival.
The film won Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards, as well as the Golden Globe and the BAFTA award in the same category. It is a co-production between the Italian Medusa Film and Indigo Film and the French Babe Films, with support from Banca Popolare di Vicenza, Pathé and France 2 Cinéma. With a production budget of €9.2 million, the film grossed over $24 million worldwide.
The film opens with a quote from Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novel Journey to the End of the Night: "Travel is useful; it exercises the imagination. All the rest is disappointment and fatigue. Our journey is entirely imaginary. That is its strength. It goes from life to death. People, animals, cities, things – all are imagined. It's a novel, just a fictitious narrative. Littré says so, and he's never wrong. And besides, in the first place, anyone can do as much. You just have to close your eyes. It's on the other side of life."
Jep Gambardella is a 65-year-old seasoned journalist and theater critic, a fascinating man, mostly committed to wandering among the social events of a Rome immersed in the beauty of its history and in the superficiality of its inhabitants today, in a merciless contrast. He also ventured into creative writing in his youth: he is the author of only one work called The Human Apparatus. Despite the appreciation and the many awards he received, Jep has not written other books, not only for his laziness but above all for a creative block from which he cannot escape. The purpose of his existence has been to become a "socialite", but not just any socialite, but "the king of society".
Jep is surrounded by several friends: Romano, a playwright who is perpetually on the leash of a young woman who exploits him; Lello, a mouthy and wealthy toy seller; Viola, a wealthy bourgeois and mother of a son with serious mental problems named Andrea; Stefania, a self-centred radical chic writer; Dadina, the dwarf editor of the newspaper where Jep works.
One morning, he meets the husband of Elisa, a woman who has been Jep's first and probably only love: the man announces that Elisa has died, leaving behind only a diary in which the woman tells of her love for Jep; thus, her husband discovered that he had been a mere surrogate for 35 years, nothing more than "a good companion". Elisa's husband, now afflicted and grieved, will soon find consolation in the affectionate welcome of his foreign maid. After this episode, Jep begins a profound and melancholic reinterpretation of his life and a long meditation on himself and on the world around him. And, above all, he thinks about starting to write again.
During the following days, Jep meets Ramona, a stripper with painful secrets, and Cardinal Bellucci, in whom the passion for cooking is more alive than his Catholic faith; Jep is gradually convinced of the futility and uselessness of his existence. Soon his "vicious circle" also breaks down: Ramona, with whom he had established an innocent and profound relationship, dies of an incurable disease; Romano, disappointed by the deceptive attractiveness of Rome, leaves the city, farewelling only Jep; Stefania, humiliated by Jep, who had revealed her secrets and her lies to her face, left Jep's worldly circle; Viola, on the other hand, after the death of her son, donates all her possessions to the Church and becomes a missionary in Africa.
Just when hopes seem to abandon Jep once and for all, he is saved by a new episode: after a meeting, pushed by Dadina, who wants to get an interview with a "Saint", a Catholic missionary nun in the Third World, Jep goes to Giglio Island to report on the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia. Right here, remembering his first meeting with Elisa in a flashback, a glimmer of hope rekindles in him: his next novel is finally ready to come to light.
- Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella
- Carlo Verdone as Romano
- Sabrina Ferilli as Ramona
- Carlo Buccirosso as Lello Cava
- Giovanna Vignola as Dadina
- Iaia Forte as Trumeau, Lello's wife
- Pamela Villoresi as Viola
- Galatea Ranzi as Stefania
- Franco Graziosi as Count Colonna
- Giorgio Pasotti as Stefano
- Massimo Popolizio as Alfio Bracco
- Sonia Gessner as Countess Colonna
- Luca Marinelli as Andrea, Viola's son
- Serena Grandi as Lorena
- Ivan Franek as Ron Sweet
- Giusi Merli as Sister Maria
- Anita Kravos as Talia Concept
- Roberto Herlitzka as Cardinal Bellucci
- Isabella Ferrari as Orietta
- Fanny Ardant as herself (uncredited)
- Antonello Venditti as himself (uncredited)
|1||"I lie" (The Little Match Girl Passion)||1-01||Torino Vocalensemble||David Lang|
|2||Far l'amore||2-01||Bob Sinclar & Raffaella Carrà|
|3||More than scarlet||2-02||Decoder Ring|
|4||Mueve la colita||2–17||El Gato D.J.|
|5||My heart's in the highlands||1-03||Else Torp,
|6||Que no se acabe el mambo||2–14||La Banda Gorda|
|7||The Lamb||1-07||The choir of the Temple Church
directed by Stephen Layton
text by William Blake
from Symphony No. 3
|1–10||London Sinfonietta, Dawn Upshaw
directed by David Zinman
|10||World to come IV||1-02||Maya Beiser||David Lang|
|12||Take my breath away||2-03||Gui Boratto|
|13||The beatitudes||1-05||Kronos Quartet||Vladimir Martynov|
|14||Forever||2-08||Antonello Venditti||Maurizio Fabrizio|
|16||There must be an angel
(playing with my heart)
|–||Lorraine Bowen||Annie Lennox, David A. Stewart|
|17||Water from the same source||2–10||Rachel's|
from Symphony in C major
|1-08||film: Leopold Stokowski and his Symphony Orchestra
album: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
conducted by Donald Johanos
from Requiem for my Friend
|1-06||Elżbieta Towarnicka, Dariusz Paradowski, Piotr Lykowski, Piotr Kusiewicz, Grzegorz Zychowicz and Jan Szypowski||Zbigniew Preisner|
|20||Everything trying||2–05||Damien Jurado|
|22||We no speak americano||2–15||Studio Allstars|
|23||Ti ruberò||2–12||Monica Cetti|
|24||Trois mouvements perpétuels||–||Peter Beijersbergen van Henegouwen||Francis Poulenc|
|25||Beata viscera||1–11||Vox Clamantis||Magister Perotinus|
|–||Time||1-04||Lele Marchitelli (it)|
|–||River flows||1-09||Lele Marchitelli|
|–||Brain waves||2-04||Lele Marchitelli|
|–||Color my world||2-07||Lele Marchitelli|
|–||Surge of excitement||2-09||Lele Marchitelli|
|–||Settembre non comincia||2–11||Lele Marchitelli|
|–||Ramona||2–18||Los Paraguayos and Luis Alberto del Paraná||Lele Marchitelli|
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 91% approval rating, based on 132 reviews, with a weighted average rating of 8.00/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Dazzlingly ambitious, beautifully filmed, and thoroughly enthralling, The Great Beauty offers virtuoso filmmaking from writer/director Paolo Sorrentino." The film holds a score of 86/100 on Metacritic based on 34 reviews, signifying "universal acclaim".
Robbie Collin at The Daily Telegraph awarded Sorrentino's film the maximum five stars and described it as "a shimmering coup de cinema". He likened it to Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City and Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita in its ambition to record a period of Roman history on film. "Rossellini covered the Nazi occupation of 1944; Fellini the seductive, empty hedonism of the years that followed. Sorrentino's plan is to do the same for the Berlusconi era," he wrote. Deborah Young of The Hollywood Reporter stated "Sorrentino's vision of moral chaos and disorder, spiritual and emotional emptiness at this moment in time is even darker than Fellini's (though Ettore Scola's The Terrace certainly comes in somewhere)." Critics have also identified other purposefully explicit film homages: to Roma, 8½, Scola's Splendor, Michelangelo Antonioni's La notte. Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar named the film as one of the twelve best films of 2013, placing it second in his list. In 2016, the film was ranked among the 100 greatest films since 2000 in an international critics poll by 177 critics around the world. It is currently director Paolo Sorrentino's second highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes.
Film critics' top lists
Various critics named the film as one of the best of 2013.
- 1st: Time Out London's 10 Best films of 2013
- 1st: Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph
- 2nd: Xan Brooks, The Guardian
- 2nd: Richard Corliss, Time
- 3rd: Chris Vognar, The Dallas Morning News
- 4th: Sight & Sound
- 4th: Lisa Schwarzbaum, BBC
- 6th: Jake Coyle, Associated Press
- 7th: Stephen Holden, The New York Times
- 8th: Simon Abrams & Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice
- 9th: Robert Gifford, The Diamondback
- 9th: Empire's 50 Best Films Of 2013
- Best films of 2013: Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
- Best Film of 2013: Justin Chang, Variety
- List of submissions to the 86th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Italian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Order of appearance in the film's closing credits. '–' indicates original music by Lele Marchitelli, individual tracks not credited in the film.
- CD and track number from the original two-CD soundtrack album, Indigo Film IND009. '–' indicates tracks not included on the album.
- "La grande bellezza – MYmovies". Mymovies.it. 21 May 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "The Great Beauty". BoxOffice. Archived from the original on 5 February 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
- "Festival de Cannes. Official Selection 2013: In Competition". Cannes. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "Toronto film festival 2013: the full line-up". The Guardian. London. 23 July 2013. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
- "Oscars 2014: Full list of winners". BBC News. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- De Marco, Camillo (18 September 2012). "La grande bellezza by Paolo Sorrentino sold in six countries". cineuropa.org. Cineuropa. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)". Screenbase. Screen International. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- De Marco, Camillo (21 May 2013). "The Great Beauty: a journey to the end of the night". Cineuropa. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Simek, Peter (12 December 2013). "Why The Great Beauty Is One of the Best Films You'll See All Year". D Magazine. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- Collin, Robbie (20 December 2013). "Film review of the year 2013: 'This was the greatest year of cinema since 1999'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- Turan, Kenneth (21 November 2013). "Review: 'The Great Beauty' intoxicates with masterful Toni Servillo". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
- Peccia, Tiziano (April 2016). "Critica e critiche alla grande bellezza" (PDF). O Olho da História (in Italian). No. 22. ISSN 2236-0824.
- "The Great Beauty (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
- "The Great Beauty Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Collin, Robbie (22 May 2013). "The Great Beauty, review". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 23 May 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Young, Deborah (21 May 2013). "The Great Beauty: Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
- Boni, Federico (21 May 2013). "The Great Beauty: Sorrentino's Masterpiece". swide.com. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- Weissberg, Jay (20 May 2013). "Cannes Film Review: The Great Beauty". Variety. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "Pedro Almodovar's Top 12 Films Of 2013 Includes 'Blue Is Warmest Color,' 'Mud,' 'Act Of Killing'& More". Indiewire. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2013.
- "The 21st Century's 100 greatest films". BBC. 23 August 2016.
- "Paolo Sorrentino". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
- "Best films of 2013 – Time Out Film". Time Out London. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "Film: the best and worst of 2013". Telegraph. London. 20 December 2013. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Brooks, Xan (19 December 2013). "The 10 best films of 2013, No 2 – The Great Beauty". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Corliss, Richard (4 December 2013). "Top 10 Best Movies". Time. Retrieved 18 June 2022.
- "Gravity is Chris Vognar's No. 1 movie of the year. What else made the Top 10?". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Barraclough, Leo (29 November 2013). "Sight & Sound Names 'Act of Killing' Top Film of 2013". Variety. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Schwarzbaum, Lisa (2 March 2014). "Culture – The 10 best films of the year". BBC. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "AP's Top 10 2013 Movies Include 'This Is The End,' 'Mud'". The Huffington Post. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Holden, Stephen (12 December 2013). "The New York Times". nytimes.com. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "New York – The 2013 Village Voice Film Critics' Poll". Villagevoice.com. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "New York – The 2013 Village Voice Film Critics' Poll". Villagevoice.com. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "The Best Movies of 2013". The Diamondback. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- "A Field In England, Filth, Blue Is The Warmest Colour, All Is Lost, Upstream Colour | The 50 Best Films Of 2013 | Features | Empire". Empireonline.com. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Bradshaw, Peter (13 March 2014). "The Braddies 2013: Peter Bradshaw nominates his films of the year". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Foundas, Scott (13 December 2013). "Best Movies of 2013: Scott Foundas' Top 10". Variety. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Chang, Justin (13 December 2013). "Best Movies of 2013: Justin Chang's Top 10". Variety. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Bradshaw, Peter; Clarke, Cath; Pulver, Andrew; Shoard, Catherine (13 September 2019). "The 100 best films of the 21st century". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 14 August 2023.
- Nordyke, Kimberly (2 March 2014). "Oscars 2014 Winners: The Complete List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- "Golden Globes Nominations: The Full List". Variety. 11 January 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Golden Globe Awards Winners". Variety. 12 January 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
- "Bafta Film Awards 2014: Full list of winners". BBC. 16 February 2014. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
- "IOFCP 2013–2014". 26 January 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "Nastri d'argento 2013, i vincitori: sei premi a Tornatore, quattro a Sorrentino". Cineblog.it. 6 July 2013.
- Santoni, Simona (10 June 2014). "David di Donatello 2014, i vincitori: miglior film Il capitale umano". Panorama (in Italian). Archived from the original on 14 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Richford, Rhonda. "Berenice Bejo, Lea Seydoux, Roman Polanski Among France's Cesar Awards Nominees". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
- "Ciak d'oro 2014, a La Grande Bellezza otto premi. Paolo Virzì miglior regista". Il Fatto Quotidiano. 4 June 2014.
- "European Film Academy : News detail". www.europeanfilmacademy.org.
- "Uudised – Festival – Pimedate Ööde Filmifestival 15. nov – 1. dets 2013". 2013.poff.ee. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- The Great Beauty at IMDb
- The Great Beauty at AllMovie
- The Great Beauty at Box Office Mojo
- The Great Beauty at Metacritic
- The Great Beauty at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Great Beauty at Australian distributor Palace Films
- The Great Beauty: Dancing in Place – an essay by Phillip Lopate at The Criterion Collection