Life Itself

2014

Life Itself

Critics Consensus

Rich in detail and warmly affectionate, Life Itself offers a joyful yet poignant tribute to a critical cinematic legacy.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 199

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,364

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Movie Info

Acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and executive producers Martin Scorsese (The Departed) and Steven Zaillian (Moneyball) present LIFE ITSELF, a documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert - a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent. Based on his bestselling memoir of the same name, LIFE ITSELF, explores the legacy of Roger Ebert's life, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism at the Chicago Sun-Times to becoming one of the most influential cultural voices in America. (C) Magnolia

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Critic Reviews for Life Itself

All Critics (199) | Top Critics (52) | Fresh (194) | Rotten (5)

  • 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.

    January 5, 2015 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • What comes through most in Life Itself, a film named after Ebert's 2011 memoir, is his great, open-minded vigor.

    January 5, 2015 | Full Review…
  • If you aren't moved by Life Itself, you ought to have your heart examined.

    January 5, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    January 5, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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."

    January 5, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    November 14, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Life Itself

  • Feb 05, 2016
    It's only fitting that Roger Ebert - a man who did so much to pioneer the belief that cinema has more meaning that goes beyond a film's mere runtime - should receive an outstanding documentary about his own life.
    Kal X. A Super Reviewer
  • Dec 10, 2015
    A truly heartfelt and yet painstakingly honest look at one of the greatest, to me the greatest, film critics ever.
    Chris B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 08, 2015
    Life Itself is a fascinating documentary about Pulitzer Prize winning film critic Roger Ebert. Though based on Ebert's memoir, the film takes a turn and ends up following the final days of his battle with cancer. Still, most of the material concerns Ebert's rise as a film critic, and how he (along with Gene Siskel) influenced the culture of film criticism. Yet there are some significant omissions (not the least of which is his post-Siskle partnership with Richard Roeper). In fact, the number of Ebert's colleagues that are interviewed are surprisingly few. And, there are some tonal issues with the switching between the cancer struggle and the biographical segments. But despite its problems, Life Itself presents an intimate look at one of the most influential figures in the history of cinema.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 05, 2015
    A superb documentary chronicling the life and time of legendary film critic Roger Ebert. A man who, right until the end, displayed happiness and joy at every movie and the medium of cinema whilst battling cancer until his last breath. Very inspirational.
    Ian W Super Reviewer

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