116 Min | Comedy – Drama – Romance | December 1997
IMDB Rating: 8.6
Director: Roberto Benigni
Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Life Is Beautiful Review: A car with no brakes, mistaken identity, and a woman falling from a barn are all a part of the opening scene in the movie “Life is Beautiful”. The main character, Guido (Roberto Benigni), has a very humorous side and serious side at the same time. The movie takes place in Italy in the late 1930’s when Guido is working as a waiter for his uncle at his hotel. Guido starts off as driving with his friend and then they realize they have no breaks until they eventually stop at a house and barn. Then Guido is walking around while his friend fixes the car. Next thing he’s walking by the barn and this girl, Dora, falls right into his arms. Guido then calls her “Princess” because he falls in love with her right then and there. When they get into town he has a trouble with Dora’s fiance who he did not know about at the time who threatens to kill him if he sees him again. Many times he runs into Dora all by mistake and she starts to feel a love connection for him. The first half of the whole movie is about them falling in love.
The last half of “Life is Beautiful” fast forwards to near the end of World War II when Guido, who is a Jew, and his son are forced to go into a Nazi concentration camp. In order to keep his son, Joshua, from being scared he makes him feel like the whole thing is a game. Since Joshua loves tanks, Guido tells him that the grand prize is a tank if they win. “Life is Beautiful”, is like the book Maus I, My Father Bleed History since it has to do with life before and during the holocaust. In the book Maus the main character was doing well with business until Germans came and forced them out of the business. There are also instances where signs were saying that no Jews were allowed to come into the store. Also the movie and book are related by having the main character or the character’s family has some lucky breaks to keep them from getting killed.
“Life is Beautiful” overall is well written and Roberto Benigni did well as Guido. The first half of the movie may have been a little draw out but did not distract from making the movie good. It was also good for the movie to make the Holocaust not seem so bad with not much killing and Guido’s humor on top of it. The movie helped show hope even during the worst times and to never give up.