Nine tells the story of Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis), a world famous film director as he confronts an epic mid-life crisis with both creative and personal problems. He must balance the many women of his life, including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the prostitute from his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren).
Rating: 5 out of 10
Day-Lewis is engaging as the anxiety-ridden genius director who is on harder times after weak follow-ups to early success. He makes terrible decisions with women, sabotages any chance of happiness, seeks insight into religions and friends. The women who surround him are varied — strong, weak, wise — and the performances are strong.
The major problems with this film are the music and the storyline.
I couldn’t tell you one song from this musical, which is its biggest failure. The greatest musicals, like “Singin’ In the Rain” and “Fiddler on the Roof,” have songs that stay with us. They stand the test of time and stick in our heads like ticks on flesh. But this has weak music. The strongest musical performance is by Hudson, who seemed misplaced on the surface in this cast of Academy Award winners, but she gave a strong performance.
The story goes no where. We are given a compelling performance and character by Lewis — albiet a character we don’t empathize for or relate to — but the film fizzles from uninteresting musical numbers and a plot that takes us no where.