An homage to Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, The Great Beauty begins with a huge celebration of the 65th birthday of Jep Gambardella (played by the wonderfully expressive Toni Servillo). Long ago, Gambardella wrote an acclaimed novella that earned him a place in Rome’s heavy-partying artistic high society. His dream was not to be a great novelist, but rather to conquer that society so completely that a party is considered a failure if he doesn’t attend. Having accomplished his goal, he is now facing the sad reality that maybe that wasn’t such a worthwhile goal after all. The Great Beauty is long (142 minutes), but filled with a range of eccentric, charming, ridiculous, extreme and memorable characters.