Review: Life Itself

Two thumbs up.

You would be hard pressed to find a movie blogger that didn't either love and/or respect Roger Ebert. Even if you didn't agree with every word he wrote, the guy is one of the best critics of all time. This documentary follows his life, the one thing he loved more than the movies. His relationship with his beloved wife Chaz, his family, his rivalry turned friendship with Gene Siskel. 

Who knew I'd ever get so emotional watching a documentary about a film critic. It really doesn't hold back. It shows Ebert in the hospital fighting cancer only a few months before his death. Even in those hard to watch times, he's still mostly positive. He even gets a Lady Gaga toothbrush from his grandchildren that he promptly bashes against his head. Those moments help.

The doc shows us a good deal of his work with Gene Siskel, with plenty of out takes from their show. This shows their growing relationship and how they went from not really liking each other, to loving each other. The most beautiful part of this film is Roger and Chaz though. They seem perfect for each other. 

It feels like a bittersweet close to the Siskel and Ebert saga. I can vividly remember hearing a voice on my TV saying "Siskel and Ebert give it two thumbs up" when I was a child. I read, re-read, watched, re-watched their reviews as I grew older. I'm not sure if any critic will have a legacy like Roger Ebert did. This was a very touching tribute. I should point out, I watched this film on CNN, so I'm pretty certain it was edited to an extent. I'm not sure what, if anything was missing. I noticed Richard Roeper was conspicuously absent from this.

Recommended: Yes

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "The posters displayed improbably buxom women and I was in there in a flash." - Roger Ebert. (Though a close second is "Fuck Pauline Kael!")


11 comments:

  1. I can't wait to watch this. I have a feeling I'll be a blubbery mess at some point.

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    1. I love that you cry in almost as many movies as I do. lol

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  2. Oh wow, I will be crying when watching this. I didn't have chance to watch their show when growing up but I always checked Ebert's reviews before anyone else's.

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    1. It's very emotional. I was too young to really comprehend their show too when it was on, but I remember catching it in the later stages before Siskel passed away.

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  3. it is SUCH a great doc. Richard wasn't really the focus, but he is in many of the scenes when they talk about their show, as well as his widow.

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    1. Gene Siskel is in many of the scenes and his widow speaks, but Richard Roeper wasn't in the version I saw at all. I figured he would've at least said a few words.

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  4. I love Ebert, and I started reading his memoir (Life Itself) and never finished it. I am so glad to hear this is well done. Beautiful review, Brittani!

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    1. Thank you! I'd love to read his memoir. I've only read "Your Movie Sucks" from him.

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    2. I love the "Your Movie Sucks" books! :)

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  5. I loved it too. Such a moving documentary on an icon in the film world. Nice review.

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    1. Thanks! I'm assuming this one wins the documentary prize at the Oscars too.

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