Nine – Review (Spoiler Free)

Nine Film PosterA serious amount of talent went into this musical (directed by Chicago’s Rob Marshall), we have Daniel Day-Lewis as our lead and he is supported by the likes of Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Kate Hudson, and Fergie. That’s one hell of a cast; it’s just a pity that it all amounts to very little. There are no bad performances given, and in fact Daniel Day-Lewis and Marion Cotillard do particularly good work here, and yet the collected effort of all of these people still somehow fails to entertain. Perhaps it’s because it contains only one memorable song; ‘Be Italian’ which is sung by Fergie, or possibly two if you consider Cotillard’s ‘My Husband Makes Movies’. But regardless of that there is an even more fundamental problem with Nine; it simply doesn’t work as an involving, or coherent film.

It very clearly draws from Fellini’s body of work; most obviously 8 ½ which inspired the stage show which this in an adaptation of, but there are also touches of La Dolce Vita present here. Unlike Fellini’s film about Guido Anselmi – a director who is overwhelmed by the demands of his next film and his personal life, Nine’s Guido Contini leads us through a slightly chaotic and distanced experience about the same subject matter, it doesn’t hold our interest as a film about film, and its love story winds up leaving us cold.

It’s a shame that Nine falls apart the way that it does. I really wanted to like this despite its poor reviews, and although there were some moments and performances which momentarily held my attention, the rest of the time I was just regularly checking the clock. This film is about a man who isn’t in full control of his film, and it may be just a little too self-referential there for its own good.

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34 comments

  1. Nice review, I agree. I’m not a musical person, and I didn’t like this movie. Daniel Day-Lewis gave a strong performance as usual, but he wasn’t enough to save to save this film.

    1. Thanks buddy. As you say, Daniel Day-Lewis did well and I think a couple of other cast members were also good, but there was no saving this one! I think a more focused screenplay would have helped matters.

  2. Nice post, I didn’t really enjoy the film but thought Cotillard was outstanding.

    1. Thanks, it seems we are pretty much on the same wavelength then. That’s the thing about Cotillard – she is nearly always fantastic!

      1. Definately, her performance of My Husband Makes Movies was so touching.

        1. Definitely, it was one of the few highlights of the film for sure!

  3. Good review! I think you pretty much said the same that I felt about it. Something was missing and the story felt a bit choppy. Honestly, I understood the big picture of what they wanted to do but it was a bit messy. I did love the music from it and it did have an amazing cast, Marion Cotillard is awesome and even liked Kate Hudson’s (short) role, but meh, it didn’t really give me a very memorable musical. And I do love musicals…

    1. Thank you! I wasn’t all that keen on a lot of the songs to be honest, but you’re right the cast is really special. Yeah I too understood what they wanted to achieve, and I would really like to see ‘that’ movie, but we got something pretty far from it in the end 😦

  4. It’s funny, I absolutely adore this cast. Such talent. Yet something never connected with me at all. In fact I’ve never finished the film. I can’t quite put my finger on it either. But something didn’t click with me at all!

    1. Not finishing the film wasn’t a bad decision! It just slowly lost more and more energy as it went along.
      I include both Marion Cotillard and Judi Dench amongst my top five actresses working at the moment, plus the rest of the cast is seriously good as you say. It’s unbelievable that we couldn’t connect with this considering all the talent on screen!

  5. Awww.., I was really hoping this was going to be good despite the negative critical response to it. I’ll probably see it eventually just because of the cast, but man. Sounds like I’ll have my work cut out for me sitting through this one!

    1. Sorry to report that it’s not 😦
      Yeah the cast should make it worth watching in an ideal world, but be prepared to struggle somewhat with this one!

  6. I finally watched this last year and felt pretty much the same way.

    1. It’s such a shame isn’t it, that such talent was wasted 😦

  7. hmmm this is the first I have heard of this film, thanks for the heads up.

    1. Glad to help out! Even if I feel somewhat bad about directing people away from any of Cotillard’s work 😦

  8. Nice review man, shame this didn’t live up to its promise. And that’s such a terrible poster, why are they taking pictures of his crotch?!

    1. Thanks, it is a bad poster. I hadn’t really paid it too much attention before but yeah, it’s not great!

  9. I haven’t seen this but I think Chicago is ridiculously overrated. How is it ever won best picture Oscar I’ll never know

    1. Yeah the other four films it was up against were all superior in my opinion. Still, if you don’t think much of Chicago then stay well away from Nine!
      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Nice review. I liked this one but not nearly as much as I expected to. It really disappointed me. I had insanely high expectations because of the cast, which is probably one of the best ever. It has a few flashes of brilliance, but mostly it’s just OK.

    1. Cheers, that’s a pretty good claim about it having one of the best ever casts!
      I don’t know that I could say it had flashes of brilliance myself, but there were some parts which I enjoyed.

  11. ” That’s one hell of a cast; it’s just a pity that it all amounts to very little.” Totally agree James. It’s too bad that it’s so underwhelming, though I did enjoy some of the musical segments, esp. the two Marion Cotillard version, one is quite emotional but rousing!

    1. Yeah, the odd song was good. As you say, Cotillard’s were both decent and I also enjoyed watching Daniel Day-Lewis’ efforts – even though now I can’t recall a single song of his!
      Underwhelming is the word – if only this had been better!

  12. Great thoughts on it, I am a bit of a musical geek and still managed to enjoy parts of this film really wanting it to work. But your right it just doesn’t really work. Maybe using a similar method to Chicago for the songs wasn’t the right direction to take Nine.

    1. Thanks, you may be right although I wouldn’t really know quite what the right approach would be.
      It’s so frustrating isn’t it, just wanting this to be good so badly but no matter how many chances you give it, it just falls through in the end.

      1. That is so true, I think it’s because of the fantastic cast as well. Although I really disliked Kate Hudson and her musical number. Fergie with Be Italian has to be the best part!

        1. Yeah I wasn’t particularly a fan of Hudson here either. Fergie definitely had the most memorable song, but I think Marion performed her songs best overall.

  13. Barely made it through that movie. Cotillard’s performance was the only highlight for me.

    1. Yeah Cotillard definitely delivered. I also think Daniel Day-Lewis was decent, even if not up to his normal high level.
      If I wasn’t planning on reviewing it I may well have switched it off part way through, it was tough going!

  14. Passionless musical, exhaustively hard to watch really. Well done James, good review.

    1. Cheers man, it really took it out of me to keep on watching this one!

  15. Natalie P · · Reply

    Interesting review, I’m surprised that it didn’t work very well, perhaps they focused too much on the individual musical numbers and not enough about how the plot connected them?

    1. Thank you. I wouldn’t say that as the songs all fitted the plot pretty tightly, it’s just that the plot was messy and the relationships between characters failed to make me feel anything – Cotillard being the exception.

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