Once a year on Mother’s Day we all celebrate the women who had a profound impact on our lives. Whether it be an aunt, a friend, a grandmother, or a step-mom, somewhere, sometime, a woman impacted your life. Rob Marshall’s new movie musical Nine ultimately is about the power that women have in a man’s life.
Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a famous Italian filmmaker known worldwide for his impareggiabile films. In order to quiet the relentless paparazzi, he announces his next film Italia, before the film even has a script. As Guido ponders his career and his personal life, he is tormented by the seven principal women in his life: His wife Luisa (the lovely Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose), his mistress Carla (Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona), his costume designer/long time friend Lilli (Judi Dench, Notes on a Scandal), his muse Claudia (Nicole Kidman, Moulin Rouge!), an American journalist/fangirl Stephanie (Kate Hudson, Bride Wars), the prostitute who taught him about women Saraghina (Fergie, The Black Eyed Peas), and the ghost of his deceased Mamma (the great Sophia Loren).
Instead of advancing the story, the songs in Nine showcase the phenomenal actor who is singing it and help to gain insight into the character of Guido Contini. Judi Dench’s song “Folies Bergere” is more spectacle than anything else, complete with elaborately dressed showgirls. But the song does show a little about how Guido was raised right there with the showgirls. For those of you turned off by Fergie’s involvement in this film – how can she hold her own against so many Oscar winners? – her song “Be Italian” is one of the very best. Of couse Penelope Cruz and Marion Cotillard were both nominated for Oscars in their roles here, and they both do incredibly well. Ms. Cotillard has an especially moving song, “Take It All”, that is not to be missed.
Fans of Fellini’s classic film 8 ½, or fans of the ’80s musical production of Nine might be turned off by Rob Marshall’s adaptation. After all, he leaves out several of the original songs and even added one of his own, Cinema Italiano. Personally, I had seen neither, had no bias, and was very impressed with this film. It is the ultimate study of not only Guido Contini filmmaker, but could be for any man. No matter how many years may have passed, women can still burn an image into a man’s life. Not many men may be as lucky as Guido Contini to have so many beautiful and talented women as close to him. Nine is a celebration of women of all ages, all shapes, all sizes.
The DVD is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The transfer is a gorgeous as the multitudes of women and their costumes. The sound is clear, Dolby digital surround.
Commentary with Director Rob Marshall and Producer John Deluca
The Incomparable Daniel Day-Lewis – The entire cast talks about how wonderful the Oscar winner is. How he was always in character. Fergie says that he left her notes around the set as Guido. (5:13)
The Women of Nine – This featurette shows director Rob Marshall talking about casting. He says every woman in Hollywood auditioned for this film, since there were so many opportunities for a lead. Even though there are so many divas, Sophia Loren says that they are all still friends. (10:49)
Director Rob Marshall – This featurette has some great footage of Marshall directing the film. Gives a good idea of what it was like on set. (6:28)
Behind the Look of Nine – Showcases the costumes and the set design. (8:24)
The Dancers of Nine – I like that they feature the dancers here, since Marshall began his career as a dancer. (4:41)
The Choreography of Be Italian – Fergie does a lot of talking about how they had so much rehearsal time, and how she usually doesn’t get that. It’s really fun to watch these dancers rehearse! (4:17)
Making of Cinema Italiano – This short featurette shows Kate Hudson in the recording studio as she records the song, and has Fergie there with her for support! (2:54)
The Choreography of Cinema Italiano – The filmmakers decided to showcase their new song with a long featurette about the choreography and rehearsal for this showstopper. Watching Hudson jump around during the song makes me wish they had a Cinema Italiano workout, like they do with Dancing with the Stars. (8:40)
Music Videos – “Cinema Italiano” featuring Kate Hudson, “Take It All” featuring Marion Cotillard, “Unusual Way” featuring Griffith Frank
Nine was released to mixed reviews this past winter. There are many people who can’t get past Fellini’s 8 1/2 or their devotion to the original musical. If you try to go into Nine with an open mind, as another director’s adaptation of the story, you might just be as impressed as I was. Or even better, try to see it as a story of a conflicted man and all the women who influence him daily. Nine made my top 10 of 2009, and even though I’ve seen several more 2009 films since making the list, still holds its spot. This is a moving film, if you allow it to be.
Sony Pictures presents Nine. Directed by: Rob Marshall. Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Fergie, Judi Dench, Sophia Loren. Written by: Michael Tolkin, Anthony Minghella. Running time: 118 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: May 4, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Jenny is proud to be the First Lady of Inside Pulse Movies. She gives female and mommy perspective, and has two kids who help with rating family movies. (If they don't like 'em, what's the point?) She prefers horror movies to chick flicks, and she can easily hang with the guys as long as there are several frou-frou girlie drinks to be had.