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Be Italian 

Year: 2009 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Rob Marshall 
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman  
An image from Nine

Nine charts the midlife crisis of fictional film genius Guido Contini (Day-Lewis) as he struggles to write his magnum opus “Italia”. Short of inspiration and plagued by the repercussions of his cavalier lifestyle, his life rapidly starts to unravel. Will Guido be able to hold it together, or is it already too late?

Daniel Day-Lewis should count himself a very lucky man, sharing the screen with some of the finest bella donnas in show business. The leading ladies take the spotlight one at a time to deliver a diversity of musical numbers, ranging from Cruz’s sultry mistress to Kate Hudson’s zesty journalist. Yet, in this star-studded line up there is one gem that shines brighter than the rest: Marion Cotillard, who has been turning heads in Hollywood since her blockbuster breakthrough in Public Enemies last year. Her portrayal of Guido’s devoted wife Luisa adds an extra dimension of humanity to the film, striking a beautiful balance between delicate dame and scorned spouse that is profoundly affecting.

The film’s plot is adapted from a Tony Award-winning Broadway production of the same name, itself based on Italian cinema extraordinaire Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical 8 1/2. The challenge of updating this rich history is handled with deft confidence by director Rob Marshall, doubtlessly drawing on his previous foray into musicals with 2002’s hugely successful Chicago. In the same way that he stylised the criminal underworld of 1920s Chicago with gritty cabaret, in Nine Marshall embraces the vibrancy of 1960s Italy to strike a flair that is sexy and chic, successfully characterising that era of cinema.

Sleek and self-assured, Nine sells itself as two enjoyable hours of glamour, music, and stars, with a surprisingly strong sense of sincerity that only adds to the satisfaction.

Owen Rye

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Screenings of this film:

2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)
2009/2010 Summer Term (35mm)