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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Staller Center Screening: “Nine”

“Nine” retells the story of Federico Fellini’s 1963 film 8 ½. It is also the film version of the Broadway musical of the same name.

Although these two facts alone might make a movie-goer skeptical, “Nine” offers beauty and magic via a world-class cast.

Guido Contini, played by the ultra-talented Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), is a film director who, one week before beginning work on his newest film, entitled “Italia,” still has no idea what the film is about. He attends press conferences and commissions costumes only pretending to have a brilliant idea, keeping the reality of his writer’s block to himself.

The film starts at a brisk pace, deftly weaving scenes of color with scenes of black-and-white that emerge as a solid fabric of reality, memory and emotion. Day-Lewis, who enters his roles entirely, adopts a hunched posture as he attempts, as Contini, to avoid the press, his agent, and his wife. Sophia Loren makes a cameo as his dead mother, the only woman he ever truly loved.

Contini is a womanizer—no surprise there. His wife, Luisa (the supreme Marion Cotillard of La Vie en Rose) was once his leading lady. Now he cheats on her with his mistress, Carla, played by a sultry and voluptuous Penelope Cruz.

Judi Dench enters as Guido’s infallible costume designer, always ready to dispense matter-of-fact advice that he never listens to.

The film follows Guido to a seaside spa where along with Carla, he attempts to avoid the press and the pressure of his movie crew.  him there.

While the start of the film is bouncy and fun, here we enter into the crisis of the film: who will Guido make his priority? His beautiful and neglected wife? Or his tempting and demanding mistress?

The problem he has with his relationships is like the problem he has with his new movie—he cannot make up his mind and he cannot find a way to tell the truth.

The middle of the film is chock-full of song and dance numbers that keep it from dragging. A bouncy number by Kate Hudson, who enters the film as a Vogue reporter from the United States, and an old-school style follies production with Judi Dench, among others, bring shiny costumes and lots of energy to the screen.

Other song and dance numbers articulate deeper feelings of various characters. Particularly moving is Luisa’s song towards the end of the film that articulates her feelings of hurt and shame at being constantly cheated on by her husband.

Other notable appearances in the film include that of Nicole Kidman, who plays Contini’s muse Claudia, and Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas in a small cameo as a local prostitute that Guido remembers from his youth. The two round out an amazing cast already popping at the seams with talent, and no one disappoints.

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