Life is inevitably beautiful in its way –
In 1930s Italy, Guido (Roberto Benigni) a Jewish waiter who also opens a bookstore starts a fairy tale life by marrying a lovely woman Dora (Nicoletta Braschi) from a nearby city. Eventually Guido and his wife have a son named Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini)and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by Nazi-German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son cope with the horrors situation of a Jewish Concentration Camp.
In general it is very highly regarded, there have been those who have said it is overrated and some say Holocaust’s trivialize or whatever. It is uneven, its instead a film about how love survives in an impossible situation. And how there can be hope in even the worst situations.
The second half of the film was better than the first. I didn’t hate the first half. Some of it is very funny, but some of the slapstick humour didn’t work as well as it should. It also works very hard, to provide charm. That is perfectly acceptable, but because there was a lot of charm in the performances and the production values it felt slightly overdone. Though I will say that Benigni’s tribute to comedy greats like Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx was inspired.
There are a lot of truly good things about Life is Beautiful. It is sumptuously filmed. The costumes look amazing and the Italian landscapes look breathtaking. The story is an effective and affectionate one, about a Jewish man who falls in love with the help of his humour, but has to do the same to protect his son in the Nazi concentration camp. The quality of the script is thoroughly decent, and hits more than it misses.
The film changes into a more poignant and lot of poignancy, compelling and harrowing in the second half. While the character of Guido “amusingly” tries to convince Giosué that life in the concentration isn’t so bad. In sort, the film portrait a simply beautiful family and lead us into the deepest human emotions in a way of sweetness, yet bitter.
The performances are excellent in general. Benigni, one of Italy’s favourite funny men, gives admirable performance. And I also thought he did a better job acting than he did directing. His direction once or twice in this film was a little bit stodgy. Nicoletta Braschi is just stunning as Dora, she looked amazing and solid in this movie.
All in all, beautiful to watch, and a very nice story. It is very pleasant to watch with a compelling and poignant story, a worth watching film with accolades.