(1960)

Critic Reviews

93

Metascore

Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Chicago Sun-Times
The movie is made with boundless energy. Fellini stood here at the dividing point between the neorealism of his earlier films (like "La Strada") and the carnival visuals of his extravagant later ones ("Juliet of the Spirits," "Amarcord'').
100
A brilliantly graphic estimation of a whole swath of society in sad decay and, eventually, a withering commentary upon the tragedy of the overcivilized. (Review of Original Release)
100
A brilliantly conceived epic fable.
100
A profound film by a legendary director in the greatest period of his career.
100
In this one masterpiece, Federico Fellini achieved the ideal balance -- between social observation and unconscious imagery, between artistic discipline and freedom, and between the neo-realism of 1950s Italian cinema and the orgiastic flights of his later work.
100
Freshly viewed, the movie's melancholy seems to fit uncannily well in the moment we find ourselves now. In the film there are mentions of nuclear annihilation and worries that heedless lust and wanton partying could bring Rome a second fall.
90
Variety
The performances are uniformly excellent. Mastroianni is perfect in the key role of the basically good and honest boy who succumbs to the sweet life. Ekberg is a revelation as the visiting star, while Furneaux almost runs off with the picture as the reporter's instinctive, possessive mistress. (Review of original release)
80
Village Voice
In one movie, at least, the ethical baseline (heisted, you could argue, from "Sweet Smell of Success") gave Fellini's roaming, cluttered mise-en-scène a chilling gravity he could never genuinely locate again.
70
Chicago Reader
The film was hugely successful and widely praised in its time, though it's really nothing more than the old C.B. De Mille formula of titillation and moralizing--Roman orgies and Christian martyrs--with only a fraction of De Mille's showmanship.
70
After nearly three hours Fellini's relentlessly enigmatic, non-committal approach leaves you wishing for something more than poignant imagery and moody, self-obsessed characters. (Review of Original Release)

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