Over the weekend I had the pleasure of watching The Great Beauty, an Italian movie described as a love letter to Rome. Having been to Rome, watching this movie makes me yearn to go back as it truly shows this beautiful city in all of its splendour, but as to the story itself, well it left me somewhat confused.
I spent much of the story feeling like somewhat of an observer. I find many European movies are just plain confusing and this was no different. It follows Jep Gambardella (played by the awesome Toni Servillo), a famous Roman writer whose only claim to fame was a novel he wrote some 40 years prior. The question of why he hasn’t written a second novel comes up throughout the movie, where only at the end does he realise that he’s found the great beauty that always eluded him.
Now what this great beauty is I am not completely sure, but I suspect its Rome itself. Jep has become the king of the socialites, known by absolutely everyone who matters, and present in every A-list party and event – often relating to high class art viewings.
It was difficult to follow what was actually going on, but there was something enthralling about Jep’s musings on life in the ancient capital. He struck me as an Italian Bill Murray, with his witty yet considered take on life, and copious amounts of suave.
When the movie ended, I looked to my wife and we agreed that we enjoyed it, but were baffled as to what it was about. Yet days later, I am still thinking about it – about the magnificent Roman scenery with one of the better soundtracks I’ve heard in recent times.