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Stewart Smith

Life is Beautiful

Click to buy the DVD on Amazon

This isn’t just another classic review, so you know. Life Is Beautiful (1997) is both a classic AND a foreign film. The original movie is in Italian, but it has subtitles and an English dubbed version on the DVD. Anyway, this movie is my favorite foreign film. And there is a reason for this. It is, indeed, a great drama, comedy, and romance movie about… Well, it can be split into two parts, really.

The movie is set in Italy and starts just before the beginning of World War II. It is about a young Jewish poet named Guido (played by Italian comedian Roberto Benigni). He takes a job as a waiter for his uncle. He falls in love with an Italian schoolteacher named Dora (Nicoletta Braschi) who is set to marry another man. I wish I didn’t have to spoil anything, but this was a subplot in a way anyhow. Eventually they are married, and she abandons the other guy. Sad, but still, just a subplot…

The majority of the movie takes place several years later during the war. Guido and Dora now have a young child, named Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini). Guido and his son, are arrested by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp. Desperate to shield his son from hell, Guido convinces him that the whole thing is a game.

This movie is touching and a great watch. This is a good way to learn about the concentration camps in WW2, so teachers, try this film. It has no graphic violence, so it’s pretty age appropriate in that retrospect. It ends sadly, though, so bring tissues.

Life is Beautiful won 3 Academy Awards, including Best Actor! Considering this is a foreign film, that’s not too common.

Age Recommendation: 8+, especially when learning about Concentration Camps.

Final Verdict: 8/10. Usually, I don’t enjoy foreign films. (I’m not racist or anything, it’s just an observation.) But this one is great!

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{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Anthony D. Grana September 1, 2010, 7:10 am

    Well done, Stewart. Many are not aware of how informative and enjoyable Foreign Films are. Your review makes me want to see it. Cheers.

  • Zane September 1, 2010, 11:59 pm

    Hey Stew its Zane from school and I wanted to check out your site you really have a cool thing going for you!

  • Joan Stewart Smith September 2, 2010, 11:14 pm

    I thought the ending was also happy. Bittersweet, as they say. Art imitates life.

  • Paul Smith September 3, 2010, 7:14 am

    Here’s some trivia for you: Roberto Benigni and Nicoletta Braschi are married in real life. They met on the set of his movie You Disturb Me in 1983.

    Benigni and Laurence Olivier are the only two actors to have directed themselves in Oscar winning performances.

  • Marcia Woodbury September 3, 2010, 9:16 pm

    This blog is great! I’m excited to be related to so many creative people! Keep it up and I look forward to your next review!


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