—01. Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella.
I was recommended La Grande Bellezza recently, embarrasingly having never even heard of it, but now I'm quite grateful for the tip. The film opens with a beautifully shot, eerie scene featuring little dialogue, followed by a high energy party reminiscent of something by Baz Luhrmann – the tone was set. After 15 minutes I wasn't sure if my viewing partner would be okay to continue watching, but we pressed on and by the end of the film it had won us both over. The cinematography was stunning, but the conversations, metaphors and main character, played by Toni Servillo, were what made it so special. Some reviews only gave credit to the film for its romantic portrayal of modern Rome, but there is much more to take away on several different levels. Of course, I'm not the only one who felt this way as it won Best Foreign Language Film earlier this year at the 86th Academy Awards.