La Dolce Vita - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

La Dolce Vita Reviews

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April 12, 2017
It feels immense, but at the end of the day this is simply about a scared and insecure man's efforts to project false confidence. He keeps his eyes locked on what he believes will satisfy him, only to find that all paths have trials.
March 10, 2017
Damn, this is one very long and boring as hell movie. As I've said before, if your movie is going to be over 2 and a half hours, it better be interesting. This was far from it as you can possibly be. The only thing I took from this was that the blonde in the first part of the movie, who was like a Marilyn Monroe lite(very sexy and curvy), was damn fine and it'd be cool to learn Italian someday. That is all. Zzzzzz.....
February 18, 2017
Journalists: they're flying above the world, ascended over the women they flirt with, the Lord protecting them.

By the closing moments of the film, we're wondering just how far Marcello will go, how much of a sleezy "worm" he really is. Here his good friend has just murdered his children and committed suicide, and now he's out partying, wrecking his friend's home, and trying to push the boundaries of the party into stripping and even sex. When he doesn't quite get his way, he resorts to humiliating another girl at the party, turning her into a chicken by drenching her in water and sticking feathers ripped from a pillow onto her. The party ends with each person given a grand exit to dance and music as Marcello throws feathers in the air - it feels like we're going to end it here, and the sense that this film will have many unanswered questions, loose ends, and possibly leave us unsatisfied, creeps over. The film keeps going, but why? What is this little epilogue at the beach where they find a dead sting ray and he sees the young girl from the cafe? My take is that she's the embodiment of what the film will define as "too far," since we're wondering what depths Marcello will stoop to. She is unquestionably underage, but there is a loving glance between the two. He wants her to come along, but she interprets his gesture as a wave goodbye - they can't see each other clearly. Happenstance keeps them apart, perhaps for the better. His appetite would never be satisfied with her, she'd only be as good as her youth, which will eventually go away. Marcello does not learn how to love in this film, he is bound to hedonism, alcoholism, and disgracing others. The question isn't so much would he or wouldn't he with the young girl - he most certainly would - it's will he or won't he, and it turns out he doesn't. That's just how it happens.

Like Jordan Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street, we're drawn in and entertained by Marcello's antics. We're equally satisfied and frustrated with his losses, like when his reunion with his first encounter turns into a serious love talk, only to be flipped on him as she falls into another man's arms right amidst his admitting he loves her. But like a Fellini film usually does, we drift into the next scenario and away from that one - that world now exists solely in the imagination as we watch a wonderfully bizarre ghost hunt in an old beaten down house that's part of this family's wealthy estate. Here, a woman will simulate sex with a ghost, and Marcello will find himself in another sexcapade.
January 31, 2017
Fellini's greatest film, and possibly the most important film of the 1960s. A vignette-laden film that runs three hours, La Dolce Vita runs the risk of being formless, but instead its fluid and universal, with its themes surrounding media and class being more relevant than ever. Filled with unforgettable imagery, lavish sequences, and featuring a broad cast of nationalities in the cast, the movie firmly began Fellini's years as an international artist, yet didn't sacrifice an iota of the beauty and humanism of his earlier work. It also pulls off that brilliant feat of being just as sublime a comedy as it is a drama, and not even 8 1/2 would blend the two to such a delicate degree. A stunning picture for anyone's taste, La Dolce Vita is cinema at its finest, and most unsullied.
½ December 27, 2016
I may be the odd man out but i thought this movie was rubbish. The point of it i guess is to have the most loathsome, bourgeoisie characters which has been done in other films-la'vventura and rules of the game and i never like it. How r u supposed to like a film when u cant connect with any character? Altho it was rather long film it did move fast among locations, characters, and plots. That was the only good thing going for it. Despite its fast pace and so much ploy i found it rather empty. I particularly hated the main character who was such a womanizing, lazy, unsuccessful soulless piece of shit. The men were all wife-beaters, alcoholics, and cheaters. All the women in this movie were codependent, insecure, and weak, or slutty and immoral-all very shallow. Ugh just awful characters. Also parts were confusing like i wasnt sure what had happened to his father-a heart attack, a panic attack, what? I couldnt make out what Robert said to Sylvia to make her mad. Why did that guy kill himself and kids? What happened to kill that child at the Madonna citing? How long was it in the future when Marcello is at the party at end? With so much going on and so many characters- scene details get muddled. It was a lot of little frustrating indecipherable moments that also irritated me. Originally i thought this movie was going to be good, but it was bad. Disappointing considering how much this movie is referenced and critically acclaimed.
Super Reviewer
½ November 25, 2016
Told in a brilliant episodic structure, this fascinating character study is the truest definition of Felliniesque: an exceptional film that is magical in its fanciful depiction of glamour in Roman aristocracy and depressing in the way it shows the decadence of a society and of man himself.
August 11, 2016
A nearly 3-hour movie with the most ridiculously silly, unheroic hero. Not uninteresting, particularly with its gorgeous cinematography and depiction of Rome's still-developing outskirts in 1960. But not sure if it's worth its length.
August 5, 2016
I seem to enjoy Fellini movies more the second time around (and on a bigger screen). It still has a lot of elements that annoy me, though, like the fact that I wanted to murder Emma any time she was on screen. Which, sure was intentional, but she's not interesting in her annoyingness, she doesn't have any apparent psychological motivation, she's just fucking irritating and creepy and seems to act like she's in a soap opera, and she drags the film down with her. Also it's way too long and self-satisfied. But I also enjoyed a lot more than I did the first time, like the lovely, heartbreaking vignette with Marcello's father, and the too-brief misadventures with Anouk Aimeé. "8 1/2" is way better, but this is still worth watching.
July 16, 2016
Caricature in everywhere, Steiner is the only interesting character in La dolce vita (and in Fellini's oeuvre), his appearances are far the strongest and most effective. The famous Trevi Fountain scene is probably the weakest. This is not the italian Sunset Blvd., but the italian The Ten Commandments and as much entertainer.
June 13, 2016
Rome, 1959/60. Marcello Rubini (played by Marcello Mastroianni) is a writer and journalist, the worst kind of journalist - a tabloid journalist, or paparazzo. His job involves him trying to catch celebrities in compromising or embarrassing situations. He tends to get quite close to his subject, especially when they're beautiful women. Two such subjects are a local heiress, Maddalena (Anouk Aimee), and a Swedish superstar-actress, Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), both of whom he has affairs with. This is despite being engaged to Emma (Yvonne Furneaux), a rather clingy, insecure, nagging, melodramatic woman (this explains his affairs!). Despite his extravagant, pleasure-filled lifestyle, he is wondering if maybe a simpler life wouldn't be better.

Explores some interesting themes, but is a bit hit-and-miss. The examination of the intrusiveness and fabrication of the news by the media was good, highlighted by a few powerful scenes (the Virgin Mary kids and the bus stop scenes especially). There is also the idea of longing for a simpler life. However, these themes aren't explored very thoroughly, and there is no profound conclusion to them.

The main problem is that the powerful scenes get diluted by some pretty dull, pointless ones. Too much time is spent on random stuff that has no bearing on the plot. Not only does this make the movie unnecessarily longer, but minimises the impact of the more profound sub-plots. Too many powerful scenes followed up by meaningless scenes.

On the plus side, there's Anita Ekberg. She is stunningly beautiful and provides the movie's iconic moment - the fountain scene. Her role did not require much acting talent but she makes up for this by having great...presence. Unfortunately, she only appears for about 1/6th of the movie. Once she is out of the picture, the energy level of the movie reduces significantly.

Interesting to note that the supporting cast includes Nico, later of The Velvet Underground and Nico fame. She appears as herself, sort of.
½ June 2, 2016
This comedy drama does contain some intriguing scenes and themes, based around the lead character Marcello. But at nearly 3 hours it is way too long, being more of a series of events rather than a structured cohesive unit. There is simply not enough substance in the film to keep the viewer's interest and focus. Considered to be one of the best movies of all time. 1001
March 30, 2016
A pretty grim and oddly surreal look at the emptiness of wealth and hedonism. Fellini is great as usual here, and I can't help feeling it is a major influence on one of my favorite films, The Great Beauty.
February 14, 2016
A crítica de Fellini ao modo de viver da burguesia italiana no pós-Guerra é duro e claro. E as inovações narrativas só se enriquecem com a fotografia e os figurinos espetaculares.
February 3, 2016
La Dolce Vita exposes that the "sweet life" isn't so sweet after all. Marcello's life is empty because he is looking for meaning in a hollow social context. Through his escapades with Maddalena, Sylvia, and Steiner, he realizes that people in high society seem fulfilled, but they're actually miserable and adrift; the image is the only thing that matters not only to the public but to Marcello as well. Caught in an idealistic fantasy, Marcello fails to recognize the importance of looking deep into the human spirit and beyond the façade played out by the stars, ultimately leading to a life of loneliness.

The first instance of imagery overpowering substance occurs during the first night when Marcello meets Maddalena, a beautiful heiress, in a nightclub. After being seduced by Maddalena, Marcello has trouble resisting temptation and eventually submits to his desires. Surprisingly, Marcello feels no shame. In fact, his lust for Maddalena becomes stronger. The noncommittal relationship and desire highlights the superficial nature of both characters.

Shortly thereafter, Marcello meets Sylvia, the Swedish-American actress, and begins to pursue her. However, what he is really chasing down is her image, that of a free-spirited, beautiful, and lively woman. True to her superficial character, the only things that matter in her life are pleasure, attention, and wealth. Because of this, she completely ignores Marcello when he tries to woo her. Infatuated with her public persona, Marcello fails to step back and question what is in front of him. Because of the reliance on this image, Marcello ultimately never gets her and furthers himself into the meaningless misconception of fame and fortune.

Similar to the encounter with Sylvia, Marcello once again finds himself a victim of a meaningless narrative. He travels to the site where two children claim to have seen the Virgin Mary. When he arrives, however, it is completely different than what he expected. Instead of a reserved landscape with humble followers of Christ seeking peacefulness, it is a gigantic theatrical operation. The cameras are there only to capture the false image of the Madonna. Consequently, the viewers of this event try to convince themselves that what they see is true. In reality, it is just an illusion.

Following this night is the party at Steiner's rich, ornate apartment. Once again, similar to his experiences with Maddalena and Sylvia, Marcello is caught in a situation perceiving someone as an ideal image. Marcello admires the "sophistication" and "happiness" of Steiner, idolizing him as the perfect man with a perfect life. Both inspirational and admiring to Marcello, Steiner represents the hollowness of the aristocracy. A seemingly happy married man, Steiner is wealthy and powerful. However, his materialism does not conceal his lack of depth and character. Although he has all these material possessions, Steiner is clearly missing something spiritually. Tragically, Steiner takes his life as well as his children's. This symbolically represents a loss hope in the dreams of Marcello, but, more importantly, it signifies the bleakness and fruitlessness of the luxurious lifestyle, something Marcello thought was so great. His suicide shows that his life has become meaningless, for he cannot cope with the disenchantment and loneliness.

By affiliating himself with members of high social status, Marcello tries to discover meaning. However, he cannot find what he is looking for because his search is characterized by people with hollow lives. The elite are seemingly content and are looked upon as exhibiting an ideal life. In actuality, these individuals are emotionally lost with no purpose. Maddalena is bored with her money and, despite being a beautiful heiress, cannot find meaning. Sylvia is only an image and turns out to be a simpleminded fool. The faking of the Virgin Mary turns out to be a sham. Oblivious to the meaningless social context, Marcello does not look past the persona of Steiner and finds himself disillusioned. In the end, his reliance on the facades of his acquaintances dooms him to a life of emptiness.
November 4, 2015
Pretty unorganized movie. I couldn't tell what the theme of the movie was, because it just seemed like a bunch of short stories. The acting was great though, and it was mildly entertaining. But, I didn't get the point.
November 1, 2015
Fellini brings you to a place which is physically impossible, and he creates this with characters you either love or hate, but you feel from them. The most fun I have ever had in one film in my entire life
September 21, 2015
As beautiful as it is sprawling, La Dolce Vita is Fellini's deconstruction of the myth of blissful affluence, an episodic masterpiece utilizing a series of mini-stories to tell universal truths about Italian culture, the artificial nature of religion, age, and love, all filtered through a lens of celebrity, commenting on the ways in which people fill these idealistic vessels up with projections of their inner-passions. It's all an extended musing on the idealized vs. the real, the ugliness that hides under the beautiful facades we create to feel superior (and who better to represent this contradiction than the paparazzi, who's cameras are a near constant-presence). To get lost in this facade means death, even if the popular perception of this lifestyle points to the contrary, and while this idea has been touched on before, it's never been done quite with half the style or intelligence that Fellini deals with here.
August 4, 2015
A large statue of Christ is being carried to the vatican via helicopter. It flies over the late 1950's Rome. As God seems to be symbolically blessing the ancient city over which he files, we soon find the workers, players, sunbathing beauties and our protagonist watching from below. This is a Rome in transition. WWII has been over for almost 15 years and the city is changing quickly. It is fairly obvious that the religious icon flying over has very little to do without what is going on below. Thus begins one of the greatest films of all time.

As Marcello Mastroianni's hedonistic and conflicted popular celebrity lifestyle journalist makes his way across Rome's terrain he guides us into what become scenes or mini-episodes that form "The Sweet Life" to which the Italian title refers.

Federico Fellini is just starting to his his new cinematic style. Cinematographer, Otello Martelli, and composer, Nino Rota, along with his leading man are the key artists who help to turn this loosely-constructed film into one of the most lavishly beautiful, romantic, glam, insightful and most influential works in cinematic history.

Despite the satire and cultural commentary, this film retains it's power thanks to the iconic moments and scenes Fellini creates. Everyone has at least two favorite scenes. Though, for me, this is a movie of espisodes. Each one more or less fitting together to form a sort of salute and farewell. More than just Rome is changing. So is the culture and all those who live in and around it.

My favorite episodes are the beginning with The Christ hanging by a rope on his way to the Vatican . The other is one of the film's longer episodes in which a hot and famous Hollywood movie star, The Legendary Anita Ekberg, arrives in a self-absorbed glee as the "paparazzi" dangle on her every fake move and turn of phrase. When she is asked what she most enjoys about life, she delivers one of the best lines I've ever heard in a movie: " "I like lots of things. But there are three things I like most. Love, love and love." Later, near the end of all-too brief time on the screen she will saunter into that fountain and inspire a glam imprint on our collective brain.

Like a lot of the characters in this film -- She isn't particularly "likable." But she is "here" to stay. Fellini not only captured this era, he ended up helping to form it.

This is an epic with an epic-like running time. But the screen is filled with so much to see and so many things to say -- it is hard to imagine not loving it.

It actually doesn't matter if we love it or hate it. Fellini's s La Dolce Vita is true cinematic masterpiece that is both modern and old-fashioned.
June 19, 2015
Three lush hours of near perfect and existential filmmaking that also happens to be radically different from anything else, even still today. I was in a trance for pretty much the entire run time, so hypnotic and surreal was it's beauty. The number of classic scenes in this movie is staggering. In fact, the entire movie is made up of one groundbreaking scene after another. Fellini captures empty people doing empty things and makes it's somehow deep, engaging, and altogether brilliant. Suffice to say I loved it.
½ June 16, 2015
From its surreal opening shot of a flying statue of Jesus Christ, to the iconic dance in Rome's Trevi Fountain La Dolce Vita reveals how cinema, celebrity,& Christianity collaborate to create the illusion of "The Sweet Life". It was and still is my favorite Italian film.
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