The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty ★★★★½

Review from my 2013 Top Ten: #1

But in a year defined—for me—by movies centred on the struggle to find something sufficient to make manageable the maddening meaninglessness of life, nothing hit home quite so much as The Great Beauty. His face just as much on the brink of an ear-to-ear grin as it is sat on the precipice of pain, Toni Servillo turns in the year’s finest performance as the one-hit wonder author whose sixty-fifth birthday has him mourning how little his socialite existence means. Using his Roman locations with a pristine appreciation for the eerie cross-section of past and present they represent, Paolo Sorrentino offers an ode to his city amidst his elating examination of art and all else we explore to give us some purpose as we wander through the world. This is not only a film that advocates accepting our lot and finding contentment; in the sublime closing credits drift down the Tiber, as perfectly shot and scored as everything that preceded it, The Great Beauty shows us just one place where we can find it.

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