It's hard to conjure a film with more celebrity wattage or pedigree than Nine.
Directed by Chicago'
s Rob Marshall, the captivating new musical stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Guido Contini, a burned-out movie director who's dizzied by visitations both real and imagined from his wife (Marion Cotillard), mistress (Penelope Cruz), muse (Nicole Kidman), and a prostitute he knew long ago (Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson), among others. Nine
is adapted from the Tony-winning stage musical of the same name, itself inspired by ( 1
) 8 1/2,
Federico Fellini's 1963 masterpiece about a filmmaker with "director's block" whose dreams, memories, and fantasies—full of women he has loved or longed for—play havoc with his everyday reality. Nine
is hardly the only film 8 1/2
has inspired: Woody Allen's mordant ( 2
) Stardust Memories
(1980), the Oscar-winning movie-within-a-movie ( 3
) Day for Night
(1973), and the Cate Blanchett sequences in the Bob Dylan biopic ( 4
) I'm Not There
(2007) all pay tribute to 8 1/2'
s satirical take on fame and nostalgia.
If Guido's trips down memory lane in Nine
put you in a backward-glancing mood, take a look at earlier, lesser-known gems showcasing members of its blue-chip cast: Cruz as a pure and virginal (but restless, so restless!) village girl in the Spanish romantic comedy ( 5
) Belle Epoque
(1994), Kidman in a small but pivotal part in the perceptive Australian coming-of-age drama ( 6
(1991), and Cotillard as an avenging angel seeking rough justice for her lover's death in ( 7
) A Very Long Engagement
(2004). Or check out the one-two punch of polar-opposite roles that made Day-Lewis a star back in 1986: a mercurial gay punk in Stephen Frears's culture-clash comedy ( 8
) My Beautiful Laundrette
and the painfully repressed suitor in ( 9
) A Room with a View.
Even in his youth, the guy could do anything. Next: Director James Cameron's fearless female heroines