One of the biggest films of the year, with one of the biggest casts like EVER, opened up on Christmas Day. It was a movie I have been waiting for for a very long time, it was supposed to come out over Thanksgiving but then it was pushed back. Usually in film world, pushing a movie back means that it sucks, which was a serious concern regarding NINE. Let me break it down for you.
Rob Marshall, who directed CHICAGO, took the reigns on NINE. It’s a story about Guido Contini, who at the age of 40 has successfully directed 8 movies (with a couple flops) and is on the verge of a midlife crisis and is ten days away from filming his 9th movie, but there’s a problem. He doesn’t have a script, or a clue as to what he’s going to do for this movie that’s supposed to be his epic return as a top notch director. As he’s trying to get through this crisis, his personal life is going down the gutter as we are introduced to all the women who have been a major inspirations in his life; from the prostitute who taught him how to be a lover (“Be Italian”) to his dead mother (played perfectly by Sophia Loren) who he speaks with when he’s in trouble. This is a story about a desperate man at the edge of his rope grasping at anything he can, all the while destroying his relationship with his loving wife (Marion Cotillard).
The all star cast for this film included 6 Oscar winners, 1 Grammy winner, and Golden Globe winner Kate Hudson. This was a pretty huge lineup, and each of them had to fill a role that was legendary. Daniel Day-Lewis is always fantastic, and he doesn’t fail to disappoint in the role of Guido. His constant brooding works so well in this movie, you can actually smell his desperation radiating from the screen. Sophia was fantastic, Nicole was good (albeit on screen for like 10 minutes). Judi Dench was great as Liliane, Guido’s confidante and costume designer. The biggest disappointment was Penelope Cruz who played the role of Carla, Guido’s mistress. Carla is one of the greatest character in the history of musicals, having been portrayed originally by Anita Morris in 1982, and then again by Jane Krakowski in the revival (for which she won a Tony award) Penelope had some big shoes to fill, and she couldn’t do it. “A call from the Vatican” is probably one of the most memorable songs from the show, and it was always portrayed as incredibly sexy, and slutty, and Carla is always horny. Penelope just wasn’t strong vocally, and she just didn’t pull through. Sorry Penelope….fail
Surprisingly, but actually not so surprisingly, the best performance I feel goes to Academy Award winner Marion Cotillard for her portrayal of Guido’s wife Luisa. A former movie star, who gave it all up after she married Guido, Cotillard’s raw emotion and amazing singing voice completely stole the show from the bigger stars in the movie. Every time she came on screen, she grabbed your attention. If you were doubting at all this incredible talent, you just need to look into her eyes when she’s on screen. Cotillard deserves a nomination for this role, no questions asked.
And now my friends, the best number from the whole show….drumroll please……..FERGIE!
I’m not even kidding. She STOLE the movie. She plays the prostitue Saraghina, who when Guido was a boy, showed him how to be a real lover. This number was FLAWLESS. First of all, FergieFerg looks like a fucking BEAST! She gained 17 pound for this role, and everything was pushed up and in. She has the strongest vocal performance (duh she’s a singer) and with 20 backup dancers, tambourines, sand and red hooker lips, people will be talking about this number for a very long time.
So I’m thinking of giving this one a 4/5, Penelope really messed up Carla, and at times I felt like I was watching just another version of Chicago, but I guess that’s Marshall’s way. Nothing at all to deter you away from seeing this movie trust me. Especially to see Marion and of course Miss Fergie. Those two performances alone are worth the money.
Check out the last 45 seconds of Fergie’s performance