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.
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!