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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Jul 3rd, 2014

FILM: Life Itself

Life ItselfAs one of our most influential and celebrated film critics, Roger Ebert would know full well that a good documentary needs to show “warts and all” of its subject. Life Itself, the new documentary about the life, times and career of Ebert (his memoir has the same title) certainly reveals the man warts and all…and more. Most of the actual ‘present day’ footage of Ebert is from his hospital room where he was unfortunately living out the short few months he had left of his life at that time (unbeknownst to anyone). Typing his ‘conversation’ into a laptop that quickly translated for him, it is difficult at times to look at Ebert in the physical state he is in (it’s hard to describe, but believe me it is startling) as it’s doubly hard to keep coming back to Steve James’ wonderfully directed ‘current’ footage when this movie presents such great footage of Ebert at Cannes, he and Gene Siskel, his partner on “Sneak Previews” (the movie review show that made them famous) and even Ebert home movies with his wife Chaz and her kids-and grandkids-his adopted family.

Chaz comes across as the real heart of this movie, a great loving wonderful presence, making the story of Ebert’s life that ends way too soon even more poignant.

Director Steve James is someone Ebert and Siskel championed early on when he made Hoop Dreams, while executive producer Martin Scorsese chimes in with some truly fun perspectives about Ebert’s good (and bad) reviews of his own movies. Life Itself is a great movie about an equally great life lived by Roger Ebert.

Life Itself opens in select theaters nationwide July, 4 2014.

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FILM: Life Itself