La Dolce Vita - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

La Dolce Vita Reviews

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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.
½ June 8, 2015
Super artsy and strangely compelling. It kept me watching. Plus the women are so glamourous, even the prostitute! What confused me was that I didn't realize years go by in the film.
April 17, 2015
Wow, that was a lot to sit through. i bet it was pretty avante garde in 1960. Now, it just rambles. The Rotten Tomatoes summary, below, makes it seem more interesting than the movie really is. It's a great glimpse into 1960 Euro culture, but as far as sheer entertainment, that's several hours I will never get back!
April 12, 2015
Beautiful to look at but the story told is sometime very stupid, peppered with enough wisdom to appear deep. Its episodic format allows for a wide panning portrait though, but im not sure if its so much a critique of modernities triteness or a disguised glamorification of it. On a funny note, I will never forget ''should we give her the flowers or the pizza first''... So it has some unforgetable images and a perfect cinematography, but to me it is not fellini's best.
Super Reviewer
½ March 29, 2015
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 the Roman aristocracy and depressing in the way it shows the decadence of a society and of man himself.
March 29, 2015
It could have a claim on the title of greatest film ever, had Fellini not made 8 1/2 a few years later.
½ March 11, 2015
This is a movie you could get lost in... write a master's thesis, watch over and over, teasing out every symbol and suggestion. I think that Fellini achieves an effect in cinematography I've never seen before by shooting a film that is TOO beautiful, gorgeous to the point of being sickly. I struggled to not rate it 5 stars as it is a masterpiece, but I don't think that it is a perfect film, although it comes close. I think it does suffer some from a loss of shock value which it relied on to a degree.
January 20, 2015
Cada fotograma en esta pelicula es perfecto, es una maravilla, empezando por la escena inicial del Cristo trasladà ndose por un helicòptero, Anita Ekberg en la fuente de Trevi, para verla màs de una vez.Excelente banda sonora.
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