The main character writes for a magazine but 20 years ago he wrote a book that was apparently wonderful and still slightly famous. He tells off an old lover for being a hypocrite, he starts an affair with a stripper who is the daughter of an old friend, he meets a Mother Teresa figure and tries to interview her. This movies is a series of vignettes with many odd characters thrown at you, who never reappear. The writer is looking for (and never finds) some kind of meaning in his life. Someone asks him why he doesn't write novels anymore and he says he is searching for "The Great Beauty" There are long party sequences with lots of beautiful people dancing and getting high. There is no linear plot to speak of, just the writer going from one empty experience to another in his search for this undefined and elusive beauty. The movie ends with the Mother Teresa character crawling up a huge concrete staircase (she is 106) as some kind of self imposed penance and then - another party. Another round of shiny dresses and massive drug taking.
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Best part of story, including ending:
I have limited patience with rich people (all the characters are rich) whining about finding meaning in their lives.
Best scene in story:
The writer ducks into his study during yet another party and find the Mother Teresa character asleep on the floor.
Opinion about the main character:
He has plenty of money and apparently a great talent. Why is he so miserable? It is hard to sympathize.