A very stylish, gorgeous film from Paolo Sorrentino. I wasn’t a huge fan of his film “Youth” but found his 2016 television series “The Young Pope” absolutely extraordinary, so I was keen to start watching more of his films, and I did indeed find this one a lot more enjoyable than “Youth”, though not as good as “The Young Pope” (of course, “The Young Pope” is a different medium and runs for around ten hours, whereas “The Great Beauty” is a film running around two hours, so comparisons aren’t quite fair).
I really like the style and tone of Sorrentino’s work. They’re dreamlike, but not in a surreal Lynch-esque way, more in a relaxed, poetic way. His films seem to mimic the way the mind actually thinks and addresses things, rather than being traditionally narratively structured. I really, really like that. This film is like the protagonist’s dream of Rome, and his life within it.
I didn’t always find the characters or story engaging, but the film was always an enjoyable experience, and aesthetically gorgeous. I give it three and a half parties, and a cultural column.