Reviewed By: Carolyn San Diego
From: Fort Walton Beach, Florida
La Vita e Belle…with this beautiful movie written and filmed in Italian, life is not only beautiful, but melodious as well.
This movie is one-of-a-kind in several different areas- for one, it’s classified as a war/romance/holocaust/comedy- a strange, previously unheard-of genre that in this movie, is surprisingly successful. Many critics thought that a film that had comedy in the same scene as the Holocaust would be insensitive and offensive- however, such fears evaporated as the finished product was displayed.
My Institute teacher loaned me Life is Beautiful about a month ago- Our family has watched it and loved it, especially my middle brother and I, who are pushovers for anything Italian. Since then, I’ve returned it and our family bought three copies, one for us and two for gifts. I watched it in English with the subtitles first- the words don’t always match up with the dialogue, due to the consideration of substituting certain words with synonyms that more closely matched up with the lip-motions of the original Italian speech- but it makes it easier and more enjoyable to then watch the movie in Italian with the subtitles. Truly, the movie is even more beautiful when viewed in la bella lingua di italia.
The only concerns that might be present when watching this movie would be its effect on young viewers or those very sensitive to the trauma of the Holocaust and its history-it is rated PG-13 for its holocaust-related material, so discretion should be used in deciding which parts of the movie should be shielded or muted temporarily from children.
Although this review seems to discuss only the dark or sorrowful aspects of this movie, please believe me when I say that this movie is breathtakingly wonderful, and your own life will likely be richer and lovelier for watching it. To avoid giving away anything special from it, I’ll sum up the plot in only a sentence: Guido, the main character, uses his ingenuity, humor, and love for his wife and son to spare them from the greater part of the horror of the holocaust, even while being imprisoned with them in a concentration camp. The movie has dozens of lighthearted and comedic moments, successfully creating a strong bond between the characters and the audience- Life is Beautiful is fantastic in every respect, drawing you in through the acting, the cinematography, the music, and the story. I would recommend this movie to absolutely everyone.
Lastly- I’d like to start including a quote from movies that I review that displays a sample of what the movie is like, so here’s a few from Life is Beautiful:
Joshua: Papa, why aren’t dogs and Jews allowed in that store?
Guido: Eh, some people, they just don’t like them. There’s a drugstore,
down the street- they don’t want any Chinese or kangaroos.
Joshua: But we let everyone in our store.
Guido: No, no more- from now on, we’re not going to let some in either. Is there anyone you don’t like?
Guido: Okay, spiders, and I don’t like Visigoths. So tomorrow, we put a sign up: “No spiders or Visigoths allowed.” I’m sick and tired of these Visigoths.
(Visigoths, apparently, attacked and raided Rome during early Italian history- thus Guido’s “dislike” of them.)
I’ll finish this review with the most well-known line from this movie, repeated at least six times, with charming results at each instance…
“BUON GIORNO, PRINCIPESSA!!!”