Nine - Movie Musical - Film Review
ALL MUSICAL NUMBERS ARE PERFORMED BY THE
by Kevin Bowen
published December 13, 2009
opens December 18 in
New York and Los Angeles
opens December 25 nationwide
Setting a possible record for Oscar-bait per cubic inch, Nine seems destined to appeal to every part of the Academy.
It’s true that it would be a better film if it were called Six, if there were a couple fewer of the women tormenting Daniel Day-Lewis’ director Guido Contini. We
could all sleep better without the Kate Hudson number. But this musical extravaganza has enough good music and pretty enough pictures to
succeed as a night’s entertainment.
Nine is attention-deficit musical making.
The musical routines are chopped up and created by editing rather than performance. This will become obvious in the opening number, with
Day-Lewis running to and from each woman of his memory like a Ms. America-Pageant-on-Acid. Of course, once you see the ultra-sexy number
with Penelope Cruz, you really won’t care.
How we have come to a film about Italians in which only Sofia Loren,
playing his mother, is actually Italian is an interesting predicament. Any European appears to fit the Weinstein Company’s bill. Day-Lewis
is strictly imitative here, going for Marcello Mastroianni’s tics. The film could turn the French actress Marion Cotillard into a true
star in the United States. Aside from the aforementioned Cruz introduction, she owns the two best musical numbers.
Eye candy is the strength of director Rob Marshall (Chicago). The musical numbers take place on a stage saturated in spectacular reds, blues, whites, as the
music calls for. The art direction and cinematography stand out.
Nine is in theory based on the Fellini
classic 8½. An Italian film director with a creative block heads for a spa to write a movie
that’s already in production. There he contemplates the meaning of the women in his life. The story turns that film into a moralistic
fable about the virtue of true love. That allows it to develop the melodrama of a musical, but leaves it looking a lot showier, feeling
a little cheaper, and leaving you generally satisfied, and occasionally thrilled.
kevinbowen @ stageandcinema.com