Life is Beautiful, (Italian: La vita è bella), is a 1997 Italian language film. The lead role of the film was played by Roberto Benigni who also co-wrote and directed it. Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni’s actual wife, played the female protagonist in the movie.
Plot. The first half of the film deals with the comic and romantic development of the affair of Italian Jew Guido Orefice and aristocratic Dora, set before the Second World War. The second half is the family’s strife through the War as they struggle to keep the family together.
Before the War, Guido Orefice arrives in Arezzo where he takes a job as a waiter in his uncle’s hotel and plans to set up his own bookstore. Later, he romances a local school teacher named Dora who happens to come from a wealthy, aristocratic, non-Jewish Italian family. On the night of her engagement party from her arrogant fiancé, Guido comes and steals her away. They marry and have a son they named Giosuè.
Years pass and Giosuè has grown to be a good four-a-half-year-old kid. However, World War II has set out and Guido, his uncle, and Giosuè are forced to take a train going to a concentration camp on Giosuè’s birthday. Dora manages to board on the same train.
In the camp, Guido hides his son from the Nazi guards. To keep Giosuè from crying and wanting to go home, he continually humors him. He tells him that the camp is only a game, and the first person to reach 1000 points will get a reward – a tank. Crying and complaining will make them lose points while being a quite boy who successfully hides from the camp guide will earn them points. Meanwhile, Dora stays on the women’s camp but is assured by Guido that they are safe. Despite the loneliness, misery, sickness and death around them, Guido manages to keep his family’s spirits through his humor and optimism.
On their last night in the camp, the American forces advance and take over the camp. In the ensuing chaos, Guido tells his son to stay inside a sweatbox until everybody has left, this being the final test before the tank is rewarded to the winner. After trying to find Dora, Guido gets caught by a Nazi guard and is consequently shot dead. The following morning, Giosuè gets out of the sweatbox and find the camp deserted. An American tank soon arrives and is delighted with the idea that they have won the contest. The Americans take him and on their way, they see his mother and Giosuè gets reunited with her. Years later, Giosuè realizes the sacrifices his father has made for them and that he has died on that night.
Review. Life is Beautiful is personally one of my most favorite films. The movie is wonderfully written, the cinematography is brilliant, the storyline is new, and the message is very deep and inspiring.
The movie is a beautiful mix of comedy and drama. The comedy lies in the light disposition of the main character. His wife falls for him because of him great humor and sincerity, and his son survives the war through his imagination and wit. Throughout the film, he keeps on putting smiles on his family’s face despite the very trying situations. On the other hand, the drama lies in the family’s love for each other and their unselfish desire to keep themselves together. Dora, the wife, follows his family to the camp, unmindful of the dangers she would encounter, though she could avoid it all because she is not Jewish. Giosuè, the son, has faith in his father and is able to maintain his innocence and giggles amidst the gunfire. And of course, Guido, the loving father and husband, does any possible things to remind his family of their happy moments, and to be hopeful that they will all be reunited in the end. His effort to remain positive despite the War is overwhelmingly inspiring.
Life is Beautiful is about the War, family, and life. It is educational as it portrays the hardship that Jews suffered during World War II. Also, it motivates audience to value the bonds of family and to realize the sacrifices parents are willing to do for their children. And lastly, the movie teaches us great lessons about hope, happiness, and love.
Actor. I looked up to Roberto Benigni. He perfectly does comedy, yet also being dramatic at the same time. His character Guido is able to appear genuinely happy before his son, yet anyone can see the tears welling in his eyes and the misery in them. That was really heart-breaking and only a few, brilliant artists can do that. Plus, the language is Italian, yet non-Italians can feel right through the emotions. I take off my hat for him!
Unforgettable scene. The memorable parts of the film will be those heart-breaking scenes, and there lots of them. Even just imagining, my heart still aches for that scene on the fateful night when Guido dies. He is really on a grave danger that moment, but Guido is still able to make Giosuè laugh, even for the last time.
Reception. The film was both financial and critical success. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a “Fresh” rating of 79%. At the 71st Academy Awards in 1999, Benigni won the Academy Award for Best Actor and the film won both the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It also won the Grand Prize of the Jury at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.
Rating. Five stars for this movie! Life is Beautiful has instantly become a classic and would forever remain one of the most celebrated films of all time.myLot User Profile