Life Itself (2014)
Critic Consensus: Rich in detail and warmly affectionate, Life Itself offers a joyful yet poignant tribute to a critical cinematic legacy.
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Critic Reviews for Life Itself
With Ebert's blessing and encouragement, Life Itself is a warts-and-all look at how the son of an Illinois electrician and housewife became a prolific writer who spent 46 years as the film critic at the Chicago Sun Times.
What comes through most in Life Itself, a film named after Ebert's 2011 memoir, is his great, open-minded vigor.
If you aren't moved by Life Itself, you ought to have your heart examined.
The film's core is footage shot during the last four months of Ebert's life, when he had lost most of his jaw and was unable to eat or speak. It's hard to see him in this state, which makes his frequent cheerfulness and humor all the more remarkable.
It's undercooked (we're not even told what movies he loved as a child) and a clip of the great New Yorker critic Pauline Kael speaking made me sit bolt upright thinking "Now you're talking."
A film about a movie critic might not sound an attractive proposition, but Steve James's biographical documentary on Pulitzer Prize-winning, Chicago Sun-Times journalist Roger Ebert (who died last year) is deeply moving.
Audience Reviews for Life Itself
A beautiful tribute to a brilliant writer and inspiring man who was one of the most influential movie critics of all time, showing us his indisputable importance for the Seventh Art, his genius and flaws, and his touching fight with cancer, all in a very honest, unsentimental way.
A wonderfully poignant documentary in which Ebert's deep love for family, life, and the movies is illuminated through the screen. The movie critic icon would not have wanted his story told any other way.
One of the major things that I was worried about, when seeing this documentary, was whether the director would be able to show the distinct and complex life of Roger Ebert. There were many stages in the evolutions in his life: from experienced newspaperman, to loving husband, to cancer patient. The man helped change the world of film criticism, and was a personal hero and voice of reason for many budding critics. The film tells the unique story of Ebert's rise to prominence, his presence in the public eye, and his illness, which would eventually take his life. This film does complete and honest justice to the memory of a great man, while also showing his pettiness, his garrulousness, and his affinity for feeling self-important. This is a film that shows a side of the famous scribe that not everyone has seen before, which is always refreshing when dealing with a very famous subject. Beautiful in many ways, this is a must see film for all film lovers.
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