Best Movies by Farr

The Great Beauty

Watch it on:

What's it About

Aging socialite Jep Gambardella (Servillo) celebrates his 65th birthday with a lavish, decadent party in Rome. Once a fêted young novelist, Jep hasn’t written anything of note in years and spends his time reveling in high-society nightlife. After a visit from an old friend, Jep embarks on a soul-searching exploration of the city and its denizens, reminiscing on a long lost love, and pondering the meaning of life. Former acquaintances, a stripper, a holy woman and the literati all come under scrutiny in his existential search.

Why we love it

With a respectful cinematic nod to the great Fellini, Paolo Sorrentino presents his own paean to Rome, a city of outsize beauty, historical weight and grotesque superficiality. Frequent collaborator Servillo suggests a senior version of Marcello Mastroianni in “La Dolce Vita,” with his well-cut suits and white fedora barely hiding a growing lassitude. The camerawork of Luca Bigazzi is breathtaking, and Sorrentino molds the episodic structure into a swirling swoosh of life lived and sometimes wasted. The dazzling aesthetic and social satire are but window-dressing for the deeper significance of Jep’s Candide-like journey. The title may refer to Rome, or life itself, in this contemporary masterpiece. Find the “Beauty” in this film.

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"