top of page

George At 

The Movies

Love movies? Lets be friends 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Join The Club & Never Miss A Review! 

Featured Movie Reviews


Updated: Jun 25, 2023

In the summer of 2003, we had the great fortune of seeing Antonio Banderas on Broadway in his lead role in NINE.

As tortured Italian movie Director Guido Contini, Banderas owned the stage. He blew us away. I was excited when I heard that Rob Marshall (Chicago) was adapting the musical for the big screen and even more so when I heard Daniel Day-Lewis was taking on the role. One of the best actors alive, Day-Lewis is famously all in on every role he selects.

Guido isn't a very likable role, which Day-Lewis tends to specialize in. Consider Daniel Plainview in "There Will Be Blood". Case closed.

Based on Fellinni's "8 1/2", Nine showcases the director as he prepares to shoot his next film. The cast and crew are all arriving in Rome, but Guido hasn't written a word. His head spins as the many women in his life encircle him, often in the same room.

Penelope Cruz was nominated for Best Supporting Actress as seductress Carla. Her sexy song "A Call from the Vatican" sees Carla seducing Guido as he takes a call from a Cardinal. Cruz has never been more beautiful and a mistress has never been more alluring & needy than Carla. It's a hilarious scene. Cruz is excellent.

Judi Dench is Lilli, Contini's long suffering costume designer.

Kate Hudson is Stephanie, an American journalist on the hunt for Guido. Hudson proves both her dancing and singing chops with her number "Cinema Italiano".

The film's two best musical sequences are very different.

One belongs to Fergie as Saraghina. She's seen in black and white flashbacks as a woman on the beach who a very young Guido and his buddies fall in love with ocean side.

As he did in "Chicago", Marshall stages all the songs on a massive soundstage at the legendary real-life Roma movie studio Cinecitta. Fergie is suddenly transported to a full color sequence with about 50 supporting dancers on the stage and she blows the doors off with "Be Italian".

The best musical moment is a much quieter one though, with Marion Cotillard (Allied, Inception) as Luisa Contini, the director's long suffering wife. As he exalts her as his ultimate muse, she sings "My Husband Makes Movies" a brutally sad look at their marriage that serves up the best music and lyrics of Maury Yeston's creation.

Nicole Kidman also makes a brief appearance as Guido's biggest star, Claudia. Her song "Unusual Way" is probably the most covered song from the musical and Kidman does just fine.

Sophia Loren came out of a near 15 year retirement to play Guido's Mamma. Dancing and singing with Day-Lewis in a long musical sequence, Loren was 75 years old when the movie was filmed. She oozes all the class of her younger years.

So is Day-Lewis as good as Guido as Banderas was on stage? No.

He's very good though and gets better as the film proceeds. His big number "Guido's Song" is really well shot by Marshall and team, but it's Contini's anguish that Day-Lewis nails. It would have been fascinating to see Banderas translate his on-stage performance for the screen.

With an $80 million budget, NINE looks fantastic. Filmed throughout Rome and on the biggest stages of Europe, no expense was spared on the production or the cast. The film failed badly, only grossing $20 million in the US and a total $54 million worldwide.

An underappreciated entry in Rob Marshall's legacy of stage adaptions, NINE

deserves a look. Guido and the powerful women that shape him earn an enjoyable B.

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page