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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Daniel Day-Lewis
Judi Dench
Marion Cotillard
Nicole Kidman
Penelope Cruz
Sofia Loren
Kate Hudson
Stacey Ferguson.
Directors
Rob Marshall.
Screenwriters
Michael Tolkin
Anthony Minghella.
Running Time
117 minutes

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Nine
The cast of 2009 let rip on Fellini with showtunes…


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Plot
1960s Italy. Once-celebrated film director Guido Contini (Day-Lewis) struggles with his unwritten script for his comeback film. Looking for inspiration, he turns to his mistress (Cruz), his wife (Cotillard), his muse (Kidman), his confidante (Dench) and his childhood memories to solve his crisis, with unsuccessful yet well-sung results.


Review
Nine
After making the Oscar-winning, $300-million-making Chicago in 2002 and following up with the not-quite-so-popular Memoirs Of A Geisha, it perhaps comes as no surprise that Rob Marshall has returned to his musical wheelhouse for Nine, a 1982 Tony award-winning musical based on Federico Fellini’s Euro classic 8 1/2. As if to counter-balance the esoteric subject matter Marshal has assembled a stellar cast, seemingly designed to make poster designers scratch their heads trying to fit all the huge names in.

And, as you might expect, they all turn in excellent performances. Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis can sing, and dance, and even speak Italian (show-off), Kate Hudson is one hell of a dancer, Penelope Cruz can move in ways you never thought decent in a musical, Judi Dench can pull off a good tune, and Fergie (the Black Eyed Pea rather than the Duchess) absolutely nails the musical’s one guaranteed foot stomper, Be Italian. Oh, and Nicole Kidman can sing, but you knew that already.

But in amongst these first-rate turns there shines an even sparklier star in the form of Marion Cotillard, playing alienated wife Luisa to Day-Lewis’s charismatic yet uninspired film director, Guido. Enchanting and saddening in equal measure, Cotillard gracefully steals the show from under everyone’s noses, masterfully delivering the other two big numbers, the eye-watering ‘My Husband Makes Movies’ and the uncompromising belter Take It All.

Hudson’s Cinema Italiano also deserves a mention for injecting some pep into an otherwise sombre series of show tunes, brightening up the introspective mood that pervades as Guido falls out with his wife, mistress (Cruz) and muse (Kidman) in quick succession. Mid-life crises don’t lead to happy tunes, and adult themes of lust, infidelity, sexual maturity and the purpose of existence may leave the Mamma Mia! crowd somewhat perplexed.

Shooting and cutting his numbers like a dervish, Marshall undeniably has a gift in taking musical newcomers and making them shine. Yet his grip falters in its ambitious Fellini-esque time-shifting structure, the film awkwardly juggling black and white snapshots from Guido’s childhood with colourful musical numbers set on a huge stage.

Still, there’s tons to enjoy — the cool of ‘60s Rome is gorgeously evoked — and its desire to take the musical into different, more complex areas is to be applauded. And if it spawns further musical-art house crossovers — The Lives Of Others On Ice. Let The Right One Sing — then all the better.


Verdict
Though slightly marred by a clunky structure and a lack of truly catchy tunes, Nine’s wall-to-wall first-rate performances from its stellar cast (especially Cotillard) add a touch of class.


Reviewed by Alastair Plumb

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Nine
Empire Star Rating

Entertaining for both sexes to enjoy- brilliant music, dancing and spectacular performances by the cast, brilliant directing by Rob Marshall. Not so sure its suitable for 12 years of age other than that very enjoyable. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by deppfanatic at 14:25, 30 May 2010 | Report This Post


Doesn't quite reach the heights...

There is a nice premise behind the film's story, how it is executed and there also some very good performances. Where it falls down is that the tunes in the film don't really match up to the sometimes inspired visual imagery. Day-Lewis is as usual superb with the rest of the cast having a great time. But there is something lacking there... something that would have elevated this film to a truly exceptional level... I think that it really just boils down to lacking any really catchy or memorable ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Francis46 at 16:27, 21 March 2010 | Report This Post


A film director struggling to start his next big project retreats to a remote hotel and reminicses on his life, and the women who shaped it, through big musical numbers. Lush, extravagant, over the top and at times incredibly corny, this is none the less a guilty pleasure. Marshall screws up a couple of the musical numbers with unneccessary cuts and pans, but overall, for lovers of big old fashioned musicals, this is a delight. Unfairly critizised by snooty critics for defaming the memory of Fel... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by duncan1964 at 09:34, 10 February 2010 | Report This Post


A film director struggling to start his next big project retreats to a remote hotel and reminicses on his life, and the women who shaped it, through big musical numbers. Lush, extravagant, over the top and at times incredibly corny, this is none the less a guilty pleasure. Marshall screws up a couple of the musical numbers with unneccessary cuts and pans, but overall, for lovers of big old fashioned musicals, this is a delight. Unfairly critizised by snooty critics for defaming the memory of Fel... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by duncan1964 at 09:34, 10 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE: truly original

"It sounds amazing I can`t wait to see it" says Daniel Day Lewis character about his proposed fim in the movie musical Nine and I felt the same way when I saw the trailers. However this glamorous musical with an incrediable cast of mostly Oscor winning stars, based on Felini`s movie 8 and a half about a movie directors mid life crisis as he tries to make his comeback to glory in movies after a series of flops and deal with all the woman in his life has one major flaw the music isn`t upto it. Th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 13:05, 28 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: truly original

One good song and some unsettling shots of Judi Dench with her cleavage hoisted up round her chin. Zeds. 5/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by David Somerset at 11:26, 21 January 2010 | Report This Post


truly original

Not very often do i go and see a musical and when its over i think WOW i could watch that again,that's exactly what i thought after i saw nine. it was (at certain points)funny,classy and very dramatic.....but at the same time its not a movie someone can half mindedly watch,there are points in the film where we are going back and forth from Guido's childhood memories and what he is thinking in his mind.i loved this movie,the songs and dances are amazing,and in my opinion it had a truly semi epic ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hpmoviefan777 at 20:50, 15 January 2010 | Report This Post


I'm slightly confused...

Because in your magazine review (issue 248) you've only given this film 3 stars? I enjoyed it a great deal, the performances and the cinematography mainly, i agree it didn't fully connect, but for me this only warrants the loss of one star. Had it fully connected it would have been truly great! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ambition at 12:30, 14 January 2010 | Report This Post


Arty Musical

There are good performances from the cast but I am a man with varied taste for films and I was checking my watch wondering when this would end as I just didnt connect to it. The musical bits are entertaining I remember thinking that parts were like a really posh music video. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 16:12, 05 January 2010 | Report This Post


guido, guido, guido

This film is a sequel in a way to Robert Marshalls because all this singing and razzle dazzle is all in the eyes of the main character Guido Contini just like a Roman male Roxy Hart living in the 60s. The cast does very well we have two singing veterans Marion Cotillard and Fergie and some very well sung parts by Kate Hudson, Sophia Loren and Penelope Cruz but out of the women of Nine who have not sung before I liked Judi Dench for her flare and Daniel Day Lewis shines with his trademark commit... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pineapple conductor at 21:22, 02 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Be Serious!

I think a lot of the above comments are fair looking from a critical viewpoint but I can't help it, I saw Nine earlier olutely loved it. I'm a huge sucker for musical numbers full stop, even not-so-catchy ones such as these (although at least two have stuck with me already) and the film is beautifully performed by everyone. I agree with the review that Marion Cotillard is particularly stunning, I loved her in Public Enemies and she's excellent in this too. I'm not always a big fan of Danie... More

Posted by motleyangel at 01:22, 31 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Be Serious!

If i’m honest i was really disappointed by this film, after watching the trailer and reading some of the reviews i had high expectations. I thought the whole storyline was a bit flat and clunky, Daniel Day Lewis’ character Guido didn’t evoke any sympathy with me at all he just left me frustrated with his constant complaining, and some of the characters (Fergie and Kate Hudson) seemed a bit pointless. Two of the songs were pretty catchy and most of the rest were okay, nothing incredible thoug... More

Posted by becky92 at 23:31, 30 December 2009 | Report This Post


Be Serious!

How disappointing... Nine certainly had all the ingredients to make a great musical. Unfortunately the whole thing feels like a pointless mess of a film and suffers from a completely inept first half. The second half is a bit better but after such a clumsy Ouverture it's hard to really get into the film. For a film with the tagline "Be Italian" there really aren't many Italians in sight. And Daniel Day Lewis' Transylvanian accent isn't fooling anybody. As for Nicole Kidman, she just s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Edward Nygma at 16:27, 28 December 2009 | Report This Post


I think you'll find that Chicago was released in 2002 not 2005... research! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gonedeaf at 23:08, 22 December 2009 | Report This Post


I think you'll find that Chicago was released in 2002 not 2005... research! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gonedeaf at 23:08, 22 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

I thought a 4 star review was a bit much. Apart from performances, and a couple of songs, the whole thing was a bit...meh. I felt like I should be sympathizing with Daniel Day-Lewis' character, Guido Contini, but I really couldn't. I liked the whole child-in-him thing they had going, with this nineth film, etc etc. Really really was looking forward to something with the excitement of Chicago, but didn't feel it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by maahinkeelhaulisaiah at 19:22, 20 December 2009 | Report This Post


Sounds decent, would like to have heard more on Day lewis' performance though.... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JonathanMardukas at 09:50, 16 December 2009 | Report This Post


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