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4.6 out of 5 stars81
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-3 of 3 reviews(2 star).show all reviews
on May 4, 1999
Yes, this film was revolutionary and, yes, it influenced a lot of directors, but I have to wonder sometimes at Fellini's sensibility. At least he gives the characters an inkling of depth in this movie, as opposed to the parodically-flat characterization of Amarcord or Satyricon. But this is still a world peopled by Fellini-types: shallow, self-absorbed, and unenlightened. No one can ever accuse Fellini of having a PHILOSOPHY. And the protagonist's flights of fancy, which seem opaque the first time you watch them, unravel into mindlessly obvious metaphors upon a second viewing. Again, yes, his reality is insufferably shallow and, yes, he wants to retreat into his imagination. But, after you understand that, is there really anything else there? I think a lot of people are so taken with the idea of an art film that's watchable--and it IS watchable, what with the pretty girls and all--that they fail to see that Fellini is mostly smoke and mirrors, a fact that becomes painfully obvious with his later work. Fellini DID rid the world of Italian Neo-Realism, which was drying up by the time 8 1/2 was released, but he didn't put anything substantive in its place. All of this would be forgivable if his images were well-conceived...but with the exception of the opening sequence (which is godawfully good), he's not much of a cinematographer either. Enough Fellini worship.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2003
Federico Fellini's "8 ½" is often cited as the late director's masterpiece but it is a maddening film to watch. It is filled to the brim with symbols, abstract ideas, ambiguity, and inner ruminations that taken together imposes on the audience the same disorienting feeling its main character is experiencing. This absence of a conventional narrative is an intriguing and bold step taken by a true artist of the medium, but experimentation alone does not make for a good film.
Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) is a film director who has just completed a hit film and is now taking refuge at a health spa. His downtime is interrupted by a parade of individuals who do not realize that a crisis is at hand - the director has no idea what to do for a follow-up feature. Money has already been spent for an elaborate film set but Guido does not know what to do with it. Hoping to find inspiration, Guido starts to look into his past and experiences a spiritual crisis as he finds it difficult to reconcile his carnal, commercial, and creative sides.
The famous sequence where Guido is reunited with all of the women he has crossed paths with in his life is a powerful sequence that is full of passion and energy. Yet, this same level of vigor is not maintained for the entire film and after a while the vivid yet disconnected imagery we are left with that is meant to symbolize Guido's aimlessness just becomes annoying. Fellini was a man ahead of his time in exploring the notion of creative bankruptcy in a commercial medium on such a sophisticated level. However, by using the narrative of "8 ½" to symbolize and deliver the message at the same time, he produced a film that comes across as too clever for its own good.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2001
After watching this movie I really wish I had those two hours back. People will say it went over my head, but I will beg to differ. I just didn't enjoy the film. Sure it is an art film, and is one of the, if not the first, to explore freely flowing thoughts. But give me a break, how predictable can this thing be. Throw in Strange Religious imagery to show my strict Catholic upbringing. Add alittle dream girl (Claudio) to represent my dissatisfaction and struggles in my love life. Make Guido a director so the viewer knows it is a movie about me. I won't ruin the ending, but you could just fast forward to it. Whola, 8 1/2. This movie just isn't as good as everyone says it is.
I really wish someone would have the courage to say this movie sucks! Everybody jump on the bandwagon, just because "critics" love it doesn't mean you have to give it glowing reviews too. I understand, you have a reputation to keep up, what would the other people at the "art-house" say if you disagreed. And why wouldn't you buy it, you need to own every film in the "Criterion Collection"! Come on, admit it, you also have The Rock, and Armageddon, and not because you like the films, you need to impress your friends. It is really kind of sad actually seeing all these sheep leading other sheep. 2 stars at best.
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