“Nine”: Skip to the songs

Nine, directed by Rob Marshall, had all the big names, all the big numbers, but yet sometimes it wasn’t big enought to hold my attention. Granted, I watched this movie in two parts where at one point I was half asleep on the couch because I was tired.

Now Nine is about the director Guido Contini  played by Daniel Day-Lewis, who is working to completed his ninth film “Italia”. Problem is Contini has no script, has no one cast besides the beautiful Claudia, played by Nicole Kidman, and pretty much has no idea what he is doing. He doesn’t even want to attend the press conference that discusses the movie because he knows there is nothing to talk about.

Contini is probably too preoccupied with all the woman in his life. Ironically there aren’t nine woman, only seven. There is his wife, Lucia played by Marion Cotillard, who was once his muse, but now is underloved. There is his mistress, Carla played by Penelope Cruz who is also married, but gives up everything to spend a few days with him. Then we have the Vogue editor or reporter Stephaine, played by Kate Hudson who like everyone, is in love with him and his films. Maybe not his two flops, but the ones full of sex. That’s 3 woman…only four more to go.

Fergie or as she is credited Stacy Ferguson, plays Saraghina who is a demon according to the church, but in a reality is a gypsy on the beach, a stripper that little Guido who is nine years old and his friends sneak away from school to watch her give a strip tease.  Nicole Kidman is Claudia, the main actress in his last 8 films who is unwilling to sign on to the film with no script. Dame Judi Dench plays his best friend and confidant, Lili, the costume designer of his films. Lastly we have his Mamma who has died but remains a big piece of his life, played by Sophia Loren.

Little fact: Nine gets it’s title for two reasons. 1) It is Guido’s ninth film 2) in flashbacks, Guido is nine years old.

Little fact 2: This movie in a way was a remake to Fellini’s 8 1/2. I can’t guarantee how similiar it is because I haven’t seen 8 1/2.

Now what I liked about this film is the way Marshall encorportaed the songs into the story. Being a fan of musicals, I was drawn into the music more than the other story line of finishing the script. The songs are playing out in Contini’s mind and if only they could be put to paper and there would be his script. The songs are so powerful while some of the lines are lacking. All the songs are sung on the incomplete scenery the audience sees in the beginning of the film. I really liked that fact. Except for maybe the last musical number where it more resembles an encore of the cast. They come out and watches from behind when Contini comes back to work. Even this scene was powerful like the lyrics in the other songs because of the aspect of how it was carried out.

Now what I didn’t like about this film was that it seemed to drag at some points, but once again that might be because I was tired, but I’m pretty sure if I watched it again, I would fast forward to the singing dancing bits over the dialogue scenes.

I know Penelope Cruz was given the nomination for her role as Carla, but I thought it was more deserving to Marion Cotillard. Her scenes were so gripping and when she sang, you couldn’t look away from the screen. Marion already won an Oscar for “La Vie en Rose” and from that the public knows she can sing and in the movie she actually look like she’s singing. Some of the woman at times looked like they were  lip synching, badly. Penelope Cruz did a wonderful job but it reminded me of her role in “Vicky Christina Barcelona” where she was already an angry, sad lover. I haven’t seen Cotillard’s performance in “La Vie en Rose”, but I can probably guarantee that it’s different.

Favorite song: Cinema Italiano that Kate Hudson sang and Be Italian that Fergie sang and danced to was also prettty good.

My piece of advice, skip around and listen to the songs because that’s when the actors really show their skill even if they may lip synch badly at times.  The songs tell the story more over the lines that are being spoken.

Oscar Nominations:

1. Best Achievement in Art Direction: John Myhre and Gordon Sim

2. Best Achievement in Costume Design: Colleen Atwood

3. Best Achievement in Music, Original Song: “Take it All” Maury Yeston

4. Best Supporting Female Actor: Penelope Cruz


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