Rental Review - Life Itself

Life Itself (2014), R, 120 minutes - Anyone who has ever dabbled in critiquing movies, whether it be around the water cooler, writing professionally, or as a hobby (such as myself) owes it to themselves to watch this film. Life Itself is a documentary covering the life and career of Roger Ebert.

As most people over the age of twenty five probably know, Ebert was a Pulitzer Prize winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times that went on to co-host the long running 'At the Movies' film review show with Gene Siskel. The film tells the story of his life, and follows him through the last months of his battle with cancer.

I'm not even going to try and summarize his accomplishments or the stories told in this film as there are far too many. What I can tell you is that I remember coming across 'At the Movies' or maybe its predecessor 'Sneak Previews' on weekend mornings on PBS when there was no Earthly reason for a kid my age to be up. I had yet to develop my love of film, but I remember being entertained by the two men arguing about movies and giving them a thumbs up or a thumbs down. In more recent years when opinions could be found on numerous film related sites, I would often check his blog to help decide whether or not a film was worth checking out.

I know that documentaries are not for everyone, but if you enjoy them or have even a passing interest in a man who made sharing his opinion an art form, Life Itself is the film for you. I've never had delusions about how interesting or important my thoughts about movies are (because let's face it, they aren't important at all), but I have always enjoyed it when a friend or co-worker asks if I've seen a particular movie or what I thought. It is an even cooler feeling when someone tells me that they have waited to hear my opinion before deciding whether to watch it themselves. Thank you for that Mr. Ebert. I can safely say that without your influence I wouldn't even be the tiniest of fish in the great ocean of film reviewers that I am now.


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