Top 5… Movies About Noses

All being well, yesterday I’ll have had my nose broken. Fear not, it’s intentional, I’ve had a deviated septum corrected, so hopefully I can breathe properly (I’ll let you know), so what better way to celebrate my own nose being fixed (or at least made less faulty), than to look at some of the best films that heavily feature someone’s schnozz.
5 Tamara Drewe
Stephen Frears’ adaptation of Posy Simmonds’ acclaimed graphic novel is light and fun, following Gemma Arterton’s eponymous journalist back to her home village deep in the British countryside. Growing up, she was always known as ‘Beaky,’ but has since received a rhinoplasty, and now seems to attract a fair amount more attention. It’s all thoroughly lightweight fare, and it pokes fun at the rural writing retreats a little too meanly, but Arterton (and the rest of the cast, including Tamsin Grieg and Dominic Cooper) are all good, and the finale is satisfying.

4 Pinocchio
The Disney classic hasn’t aged well, and the plot is at times laughably absurd (as discussed in my recent Disney weekend review) but this is still a classic. The nose scene needs little explanation, with the magically sentient marionette’s facial protuberance increasing in length whenever he utters a fib, but the fact that it is such a small part of the film, yet it has become such a large part of pop culture, being references heavily in the Shrek franchise among others, is a testament to the creativity on display.

3 Cyrano de Bergerac
Another recently reviewed film, this sees Gerard Depardieu as the eloquent, intelligent, romantic poet forced to hide behind the dashing good looks of a soldier in his guard, due to Cyrano’s overly-efficient smelling device. Depardieu was born for the role, and the dialogue is nothing short of marvellous.

2 Roxanne
I’m probably going to receive some flak for this, but I prefer the Steve Martin remake over the aforementioned Gerard Depardieu original, above. Martin is a genius, who I’ve been lucky enough to see live (granted at a banjo-playing gig rather than stand-up, but still) and though he may have slummed it in recent years with sub-par pictures, some of his earlier works (Parenthood, The Jerk, Little Shop of Horrors) are nothing short of genius. The scene in the bar, where Martin’s nasally abundant firefighter reels off twenty five insults for himself that a dimbulb patron should have used, is a wonderful showcase of his comic ability, even if it is lifted directly from the original.

1 Chinatown
Roman Polanski’s detective masterpiece is an example of near perfect cinema, not least due to Jack Nicholson’s gumshoe J. J. Gittes nose being broken when he sticks it in a little too far into a scandal involving the L.A. water supply. As ever, Nicholson is a delight, and John Huston won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar as the dastardly vile Noah Cross, but Polanski direction (he cameos as the goon responsible for Gittes’ impromptu nose job) and Robert Towne’s Oscar-winning screenplay are the real stars on display.

Honourable mentions:
Penelope – Christina Ricci finds it difficult to discover true love, mainly because she has a pig’s snout for a nose.
Any Muppet film – Gonzo! The most lovable creature with an umbrella handle sticking out of his face. Most notable performance? Only Charles Dickens in the Muppet Christmas Carol.

…and the Worst
I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen this, but my girlfriend tells me it’s terrible (though she’s not a Will Ferrell fan anyway) and I’ve only ever read bad reviews. Plus, I couldn’t think of anything else. The trailers and clips I’ve seen look uninspiring and frankly just not funny, as Nicole Kidman’s nose-twitching witch is cast in the lead role of a remake of the classic 60s TV show. The whole premise just sounds a little too snarky and meta for it’s own good, but if I ever stumble across it on TV I’ll give it a glance, and let you know if it really is as bad as I think.

2 thoughts on “Top 5… Movies About Noses

  1. Funny list. Thanks. Check out Sleeper sometime. Woody Allen ends up in the future and there is a plot to try to clone someone from the one remaining body part – his nose.

  2. Forgot all about Sleeper! Good call. There's so many ideas in that film I forgot about the nose cloning. It's on the 1001 List, so I'll keep an eye out when I get round to it.

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