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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A self-centered and self-indulgent film director careens through life, focusing all of his energies of the creative process and paying no attention to how his actions affect others, including his neglected wife, the mistress he takes for granted, and the many people involved in a major film project that can't move forward until he completes the script.
Positive Role Models
Guido is tortured by the creative spirit. His artistic impulses consume him, leaving him unable to manage the more mundane activities of his life, including remaining faithful to his wife or completing (or beginning, actually) the much-needed script for a major movie that's about to begin production. The film shows the dark side of genius and could make the life of an artist seem less than appealing to viewers who might otherwise harbor a bit of jealousy for such a glamorous lifestyle. On the up side, the movie features many strong female characters.
Violence & Scariness
Some dance sequences feature aggressive movements, but the effect is more dramatic than violent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent sexual situations, but no nudity or love scenes. Characters often discuss sex and desire, and many of the dance sequences feature women in skimpy costumes performing suggestive movements. One song focuses exclusively on a woman's desire for her partner and includes very racy lyrics and sexy motions.
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Not much swearing, though some characters do refer to each other as "ass" and "whore." Also a few uses of exclamations like "hell" and "my God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters (all adults) smoke cigarettes often and drink socially at parties and dinners.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this beautifully filmed, all-star musical from the director of Chicago (and based on Federico Fellini's classic, albeit mature, film 8 1/2) follows a tortured-genius film director (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his interactions with a series of women (played by the likes of Penelope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, and even Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas) who've had an impact on his creative process. Though there's no actual sex or nudity, many of the songs focus on love, lust, and desire, and almost all of the dance numbers feature scantily clad dancers and suggestive lyrics/movements. There's also some smoking, drinking, and infrequent swearing. Younger viewers probably won't be able to fully appreciate the movie's mature themes related to relationships and creative challenges, but the cast may draw them in anyway. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's a little unclear how an Irish actor wound up playing a tortured Italian director, but how lucky the audience is for it. NINE features Day-Lewis as we've rarely seen him: whimsical, unpredictable, prone to both rage and passion. He may not be exactly like Fellini's hero in 8 1/2 (on which this movie is based) -- nor the Guido of the acclaimed Broadway musical -- but no matter: Day-Lewis makes the character mesmerizingly distressed. He's writer's block writ large.
Still, fans of both the Broadway version and Fellini's classic may be disappointed. Some songs have been excised, and Guido's women are, by and large, not that fascinating, at least not in this version. Hudson's reporter is a trifle (and not in a way that serves the character); Cruz, though smoldering, is over the top; Kidman is fleeting. Cotillard is the exception, singing with such feeling -- and acting that way, too. It's lovely to see Loren on the big screen again, and Dench also delivers as a jaded costume designer. Nine may not score a perfect 10, but with its rousing numbers and some strong performances, it successfully entertains.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.