Published March 06. 2014 4:00AM
"The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)" just walked off with the best foreign-language film Oscar, and you can go see why. This Italian creation is clearly influenced by the great "La Dolce Vita," as it immerses the audience in the lives of the wealthy and the dissolute in Rome. Director and co-writer Paolo Sorrentino paints sumptuous portraits of the city and its denizens with each carefully constructed frame. In "The Great Beauty," jaded journalist Jep Gambardella (the wonderfully expressive Toni Servillo) has just turned 65 and begins to take stock of his previously rather unexamined life. He's floated through high society and wild parties. Jep is jarred by the death of his first love - although, really, this isn't a plot-driven movie. It's more a meditation on life. What Sorrentino does so well, too, is surround Jep with intriguingly idiosyncratic characters.
- KRISTINA DORSEY