Daddycatcher’s NINE review
Daddycatcher has been listening to the soundtrack of the film Nine on repeat since he downloaded it last Tuesday. In fact, he is listening to it right now! Yet, listening to these fabulous interpretations of Maury Yeston’s score will be very misleading to the die-hard Nine fans.
For Nine (the film) is not so much an adaptation of the 1982 Tony-winning musical but some weird hybrid of 8 ½ (Frederico Fellini’s film on which the musical was based) and Nine (the musical).
The basic story (since there is no plot, really) revolves around Guido Contini, a celebrated Italian film director, who is suffering from writer’s block and a mid-life crisis. He is set to begin production on his ninth film but has no script or idea for it. Further complicating his life are all the women in his life vying for his attention, past and present: his wife, mistress, muse, mother, etc.
The structure of the play (as well as 11 songs, more than ½ the score) has been jettisoned and what is left is a mish-mash of dialogue and song. What were once songs that fleshed out characters, storyline, and were used as exposition have now become songs that comment on action and situations. With that set-up in place, Rob Marshall has staged every number as if he were doing Chicago 2.
All the songs occur on a huge soundstage within the mind of Guido Contini, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. And the actresses playing the women of Guido’s world are all directed to perform as if for an audience. The only songs that work are “Overture Delle Donne”, “My Husband Makes Movies,” and “Guarda La Luna.” All three songs exist in a world where presentational performances are forbidden and the inner workings of the characters emerge.
Across the board, all the women are stand-outs with Marion Cotillard, as Guido’s wife, giving an incredibly heart-breaking performance.
Kate Hudson’s character, an American VOGUE reporter, feels out of place in this film. It is a relatively minor role and not enough to warrant having a huge significance in Guido’s life. That being said, Daddycatcher does love her song, “Cinema Italiano.”
The Big Man, however, really enjoyed the film. It is one of his favorite musicals as well but he is not as crazy about it as Daddycatcher is. Interestingly, when the Big Man’s favorite – Sweeney Todd – was released as a film last winter, he hated it and Daddycatcher thought it was a good film. Not a good adaptation of the musical but a good film. The Big Man feels the same way about Nine.
In the end, Daddycatcher will have to see Nine again to figure out if he liked it as a film and not as an adaptation of his favorite musical…