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La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful) Movie Review (9.5/10)

Posted on January 9th, 2002 filed in Movie Reviews    |   

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Guido (Roberto Benigni) moves in 1939 to a Tuscany town to work for his jewish uncle as a waiter. Soon he falls in love with a school teacher, Dora (His real life wife), and, despite her being promised to another man, pursues her relentlessly until finally they get married.

Fast forward to 1945, the last year of world war II. The couple now has a young boy and Italy is run by faschists. The trio’s life gets suddenly disrupted when Guido and his son are sent to a concentration camp and his wife volunteers to be sent there as well despite the fact that she will be separated from the two and will end up in a separate part of the camp.


‘Life is Beautiful’ declares itself a fable and it surely and awesomely delivers. Roberto Benigni astounds with both his acting and directing and takes the audience on a roller coaster of emotions and an uplifting journey into the human spirit.

The story, in both its poignant and humorous moments, is skillfully told with an unexpected shift in tone halfway, while remaining loyal to Guido (Benigni character), namely his deep commitment to his family and his never tiring determination to overcome hurdles even when odds are not on his side, to protect them and ensure their wellbeing.

The second part of the movie still has its comic moments, most notably when Guido translates what the German Officer is telling the inmates. The script shines here as well, specially through the delicate task of Guido’s relentless attempts to hide the reality of the situation from his son and convince him that all is part of a game the big prize of which being a real tank.

The movie musical score is memorable and adds to the beauty of this production.

In the end, ‘Life is Beautiful’ is a masterpiece about love (between husband and wife, and, father and son), strength, courage , undeniable passion for life and the ultimate parent or spouse� sacrifice. I get chills anytime I recall the amazingly and painfully memorable scene of Guido, walking like a clown to make his hiding son laughs,� whilehaving no doubt� that he himself will be executed only seconds later.
Highly recommended and suitable for all ages (Rated PG 13 in the US).

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