"Not Quite Like the Original. . ."
The movie NINE is based on the hit Broadway musical of the same name which, in turn, is based on the classic Fellini movie from Italy, 8-1/2. In both versions, celebrity film director Guido is trapped in a personal and professional crisis.
Guido is about to embark on shooting a multi-million dollar film in 10 days but he does not have a script nor even an idea. He only has a title, ITALIA, and the commitment of his very famous leading lady whose romantic entanglements have often been “his muse” in making movies.
The story follows Guido after he runs away from a press conference when the journalists suggest he no longer has any creative ideas left. Guido holes up in a spa in a small villa, lies to his wife about his whereabouts, and calls his mistress to console him.
Guido’s producer finds him at the spa, brings the staff and crew, and tries to start production. Then, Guido’s wife arrives. She is finally done with his lies and leaves him. Now in full despair, Guido cancels production, moves from Rome, and goes into seclusion. Two years later, Guido returns to directing, and there is hope his wife may return to him.
Throughout the story, each of “Guido’s women” take a turn at a full blown Broadway style dance number to sing about Guido and their relationship. His wife, his mistress, his mother, a journalist with whom he almost has a one-night stand, the prostitute he would pay to show her breasts when he was younger, and the costume designer and confidant all extol Guido and discuss their love for him. One dance number after another tends to make the movie have an episodic feel rather than a cohesive story.
As a Broadway show, the extravagant and Bob Fosse-inspired musical numbers would serve well to tell the story of Guido, but in film, they fall a bit flat. This is in part due to the fact that viewers don’t really sympathize with Guido that much. He is a “rascal” in that he chases women and everyone seems to forgive him for that. Even so, he doesn’t create much connection with the viewer. Instead of a tortured artist, Guido comes off as more of a whining man who can’t be loyal to his wife or avoid telling lies.
NINE has some strong anti-God sentiments. Guido flashes back and recalls being beaten by the local priest who tells Guido that God will punish him for his sins both now and forever. Guido meets with a cardinal and a priest to ask advice but they want to only talk about his movies. Guido tells the cardinal he’s trying to be a Catholic, to which the cardinal replies to try harder. Guido tunes out the cardinal when the cardinal tells Guido his movies should help Italian women to be better wives and that his imagination needs moral training. Guido says in a song that he would believe in Christ, Buddha, or Mohammad if he didn’t have to believe in God. Guido’s deceased mom, who appears in visions and flashbacks, wears a cross prominently around her neck. When Guido is about to have sexual relations with his mistress, he removes the crucifix from above the bed and hides it under the bed.
In the end, Guido doesn’t seem to learn too much from his adventures. His next movie is going to be about a man trying to win his wife back, and he instructs the actors that the scene is about reconciliation. The life lesson he learns is that no one, none of the women in his life, can help him find his way and that only he can find his own way.
Though all of it is implied or suggested, there are sometimes graphically erotic dance scenes in NINE. Also, the women are all dressed in very revealing outfits. Thus, much of the movie seems to be about sex and lust. NINE also contains brief foul language.
As for the movie’s dominant worldview, it is strongly Romantic, in the philosophical sense. The main focus is on the protagonist’s emotional states in his life and his artistic expression, as well as his relationships with women. Ironically, the protagonist himself seems to be aware he’s flouting God’s laws. Hence the scene where he hides the crucifix, the symbol of Jesus Christ’s vicarious atonement for our sins, and God’s love for the world.
All in all, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for NINE.
(RoRo, PaPa, AbAb, C, B, L, V, SS, NN, A, D, MM) Strong Romantic worldview of seeking romance as meaning in life, with strong pagan elements of an immoral lifestyle and nearly worshipping one’s “art,” mixed with some strong anti-God statements though Catholic clerics try to give moral and spiritual advice to protagonist; one mild obscenity and six profanities; no depicted violence but priest is about to beat boy with cane but camera cuts away; strong immoral sexual content overall includes one scene of implied sex, nearly constant erotic dance numbers, adultery, character pays prostitute to show her breasts, and discussion of romance and sex; upper male nudity, and sexualized partial nudity (more suggestive than explicit) includes very revealing female dance costumes with much cleavage and bare midriffs, and women in underwear; alcohol use; much smoking by nearly all characters; and, frequent lying and betrayal.
The movie NINE is based on the Broadway musical which is based on the classic movie, 8-1/2. Celebrity film director Guido is caught in both a personal and professional crisis as he is set to start shooting his movie without a script or a story. Guido runs away, lies to his wife, and calls his mistress to console him. When his wife discovers his lies and affair, Guido cancels production and goes into seclusion. Two years later, he returns to directing, and there is hope his wife may return to him.
Throughout NINE, each of “Guido’s women” take a turn at dance number to sing about Guido. His wife, mistress, mother, a journalist, a prostitute, and a costume designer and confidant all discuss their love for him. These serial dance sequences give the movie an episodic feel. Though the suggestive content is implied, not explicit, the dance scenes contain images of scantily dressed women. Instead of a tortured artist in crisis, Guido comes off as a whining man who can’t be loyal to his wife. NINE also has some strong anti-God sentiments. This negative content demands extreme caution for media-wise adults.