Decadence, bewilderment, and regret infuse the 2013 Italian film La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty). And I felt the same way after watching the film. While it is probably a true-to-life statement about how some people feel in and about the world, I was hoping to see and experience more of the bellezza (beauty) of the eternal city of Rome and of humanity rather than the bruttezza (ugliness) and schifezza (filth) as exhibited in the film.
The protagonist (if you can call him that) is an aging Roman author and socialite named Jep Gambardella (played by Toni Servillo). Jep rose to fame and fortune early in his life by writing a famous and beloved novel. He has since lived his life writing the occasional column and throwing lavish parties (his elegant flat overlooks the Coliseum as shown in the photo above). After his 65th birthday party, Jep walks through the city of Rome, reflecting upon his life, his first love, and his overall sense of malaise.
It seemed to me that the film is a modern-day remake in many ways of the Federico Fellini classic La dolce vita (The Sweet Life), which is also decadent and depressing as all get out.
Although La grande bellezza took home the Academy Award© this year for Best Foreign Film, I can’t recommend it unless you want a really sad look at the state of human affairs. The film contains a lot of nudity and adult situations, too. I recommend visiting Rome, Italy for yourself instead of watching this sad, wasted opportunity of a film.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars