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The Great Beauty (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray + DVD) (2013)

 Unrated |  Blu-ray
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Format: Color, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2014
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00HE010QM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,817 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

For decades, journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the glittering nightlife of Rome. Since the legendary success of his only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city s literary and elite social circles. But on his sixty-fifth birthday, Jep unexpectedly finds himself taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the lavish nightclubs, parties, and cafes to find Rome itself, in all its monumental glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty. Featuring sensuous cinematography, a lush score, and an award-winning central performance by the great Toni Servillo (GOMORRAH), this transporting experience by the brilliant Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (IL DIVO) is a breathtaking Fellini-esque tale of decadence and lost love.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 112 people found the following review helpful
"The Great Beauty" (Italian: La Grande Bellezza), directed by Paolo Sorrentino, is a lovely film, simultaneously self aware and unashamed in channeling several of the themes, stylistic flourishes and concerns previously identified with classic Italian films like "La Dolce Vita", "8 1/2", "L'Avventura" and so forth. It makes superb use of Rome in all its classical beauty as a location for mournful contemplations on lost youth, present life, pending mortality and the tribal malaise and pretenses of Rome's creative elite, all presented with lots of style and sizzle. How much a viewer finds the film to ultimately be either haunting and depressing or stimulating and entertaining may depend on how close to home the life concerns and reflections of the protagonist are to the viewer's own life.

The "La Dolce Vita" like story of dissipated Roman creative posers and party animals confronting middle age, lost promise, failure and mortality, as though Marcello Mastroianni had never managed to transcend the final scenes of "La Dolce Vita", and had just grown old where we last saw him, allows for some wicked insights into and comments on Roman artistic life and an Italian film genre that is best summarized as "We are surrounded by so much beauty and greatness from the past, but we can only create empty beauty because we lack greatness, and can never achieve it again, and are tormented by the language and symbols of Catholicism, and are twisted into knots and self negation by intellectualizing about modernity. What else can we do but party? And, of course, we are melancholy at the emptiness of it all...".
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Great Italian Films January 17, 2014
By Pfritz
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I'm thrilled to see that Criterion Collection is releasing this film on disc so soon. I've seen it twice in the theater and it's one of the very best films I've ever seen. Not to be missed for anyone who appreciates Italian films, especially those by Fellini & Antonioni. Yes it contains many moments that reference La Dolce Vita, but as great as that film is, this one owes it no debt, it transcends La Dolce in many ways. On my first viewing I was swept away from start to finish. On second viewing the fragility of life and the poignancy of loss came to the fore. Amazing images and a great musical score.

The main character, Jep Gambardella, looked all his life for the great beauty but didn't find it. We get to see it everywhere around him.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
This is the most nostalgic Italian film since the times of Giuseppe Tornatore's Baaria. Gepp is writer who is living his autumnal ages, and so he explores with farewelll taste all those places, faces , friends, girls that accompanied him sometime but that actually are gone or like him have grown old.

"Roma has let me down" says one of his fellow friends. The journey into the night is filled with reminsicent metaphors that calls us back to La Dolce Vita, 8 1/2, Roma and even Last year in Mariembad. The main character is closer to GianCarlo Gianini than Marcello. He walks, talks and reflects about his passions, hobbies, missing romances and how the actual world has lost part of the charm of his youth years.

Of course, there are cynical observations about the banality of society (even the Roman church is not absent).

The photography is admirable and talks by itself. And brilliant sequences that illustrate the state of despair and agonic loneliness (Giraffe's missing, for instance).

A film that highlights above the average. Good cast and magnificent custome design.

I have a presentiment. I guess this picture will win the Golden Globe as Best Foreign Film.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT FILM ABOUT TODAY December 1, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Saw the film in Paris, in june this summer. I consider it a new "La dolce vita", somehow inspired in that film, and Fellini's art, and very much the film of Rome and its society today. A great film, in my opinion. And the photography is also excepcional!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for your eyes (& your ears)! January 25, 2014
By Siriam
The team of Toni Servillo in the lead role as the sybaritic critic and novelist (having only ever written one successful novel 20 years before) playing out the role of Jep Gambardella, one of the oldest swingers in Rome and directed and co-written by Paolo Sorrentino, have again hit pay-dirt. I hope like the previous "Il Divo" it achieves another Oscar nomination!!

At 135 minutes it is a movie that will either envelop you with its stunning visuals (right up to the end of the closing credits in fact) and intelligent script or leave you thinking it is way too long and over indulgent. Many of Sorrentino's normal trademarks are here - the use of different dance and music to great dramatic effect; beautifully composed visuals, though his continual use of tracking and crane shots can get a tad tiresome; a wide cast of strong supporting actors that serves Servillo's immaculately attired but tired and acerbic persona well; and, the story of a man having lived the high life being woken up to face his demons - but what lifts this film to a higher level is its love affair with Rome.

The use of locations and few studio sets (with some amazing use of animals for key scenes) shows off the beauty of Rome and its architecture to great effect. Top that with a story centered around the Italian wealthy who live and party in Rome has led inevitably to comparisons with La Dolce Vita of Fellini and Antonioni films of that era. But with little reference to the recent politics of Berlusconi and modern Italy this is an exploration of the current vacuousness of living within Rome's elites both in the Arts and interestingly the Church, given the Vatican's presence within Rome.

The script is razor sharp throughout.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!!!
This is such an exquisitely beautiful film that that looks at the meaning of it all in such wonderfully disarming ways. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Robert Byrd
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Fellini
This Oscar winning Best Foreign Language was a little disappointing. I thought I was watching a Fellini movie. Lead actor is excellent, but the film moves very slowly. Read more
Published 16 hours ago by ronald
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensual dream of Rome in the 70's, excellent dream,
It is like watching some one live from a hiding place. Rome is the gorgeous seductress, and it is a haunting story of passion, and regret , joy and desperation. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Sheila Marie Fleming
1.0 out of 5 stars Most Boring, Wasteful Film
Italians used to make wonderful, intelligent movies in the 60s and 70s. Then, like many things in that society the film industry and quality cinema went to pot. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Bruce Kermane
3.0 out of 5 stars Tribute to Fellini
This would have been more classic if 8.5 and The Dolce Vita didn't exist. I really enjoyed it & recommend it for the cutting dialogue, however, the digital film is harsh, not... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Mactavish
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful tour of Roman mind
I saw this Oscar winner on the big screen and I had to have a copy for my home. It is a wonderful circus of scenes, sounds and ideas. Toni Servillo is not to be missed.
Published 3 days ago by John from the Turbine Electric City
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Beauty.
An exquisitely beautiful film that won the Award for Best Foreign Film 2013 and was better then anything America put out. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Aquus
4.0 out of 5 stars Flowers Of Beautiful Emptiness
Paolo Sorrentino’s much lauded, multi award winning film about La Dolce Vita, the hedonistic, excessive, stylish – but ultimately exhausted ennui of Roman high-life is itself a... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Lady Fancifull
1.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious movie
Bits me why it got the Oscar. We hated it. Goes on and on to no where. Terrible story, or in other words, no real story, just a series of pictures with a loose thread connecting... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Tirza
1.0 out of 5 stars horrible movie
it was like a bad Fellini movie. No substance. everything about the movie was weird. it was also extremely long and boring
Published 8 days ago by lissette rakusa
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