Life Itself is a 2014 documentary film directed by Steve James and it tells the story of one of the most famous, probably the most famous, film critic of all time Roger Ebert.
This film is so masterfully well crafted and directed and that is evident throughout the whole movie, right from the beginning. It combines the personal life of Roger Ebert with his work along with his relationships and friendship with Gene Siskel. Speaking of Gene, that is the aspect about the whole movie, about their troubled relationship. When it started, it was quite troubled and they honestly did not get along well which was somewhat evident in they work together. But, it became very beautiful and sad when Gene died and when Ebert talked about him when you see how much of a friend he was to him and how much he cared for him. That was the film’s most beautiful moment in my humble opinion.
Although there is less of the criticism parts in this film, those are also terrific. Every movie they chose was excellent and every point others and himself made really made you think. There are some really thought-provoking lines and thoughts here about the filmmaking and movie reviews. The interviews are also great and there is just enough amount of them in the film along with pictures and footage which really makes you realize how perfectly edited the movie is.
There were a couple of problems with the documentary, two to be exact. First is that there is not enough footage, pictures or talk about his earlier career and life. And second is that the movie can jump too many times from time to time, from his early reviewing days to his illness days. But those two are the only flaws I found in this otherwise remarkable picture.
Life Itself is, along with being very insightful and definitely engaging, also very emotional and even heartbreaking sometimes. The later scenes when his illness progressed are definitely hard to watch, but also inspirational when you see how strong and full of life he was as a person, even in the darkest hours. His relationship with his wife and the interviews with her are truly beautiful and extremely sad as well. It is all so heartwarming and sad without ever going to maudlin territory.
In the end, Life Itself is a truly magnificent piece of filmmaking, a movie that captures so many aspects of Ebert’s life and really makes you understand and care for him with a wide variety of interviews, footage, thought-provoking points, emotional as well as intriguing and even funny moments. It is very well crafted and directed, wonderfully made all around, involving from beginning to end and it is, without a doubt, one of the very best documentaries of 2014.
Life Itself (2014)
Thank you, simbasible