Life Itself [2014] ★★★½

life-itself-poster1-691x1024Everything you need to know about Roger Ebert, the legendary film critic who passed away in 2013, is in Steve James’ fantastic documentary. Cancer destroyed Ebert’s body and robbed him of his voice, but he kept reviewing films on his blog till the day he died. In his final days, director Steve James followed him as he suffered, but remained strong and hopeful, reflecting on his family, his early career, and of course the movies. For these reasons and more, Steve James set out to fill in the blanks of his astonishing story. The result, “Life Itself”, is an incredibly touching documentary that hits you hard. The title derives from Ebert’s autobiography. But don’t do an Internet search until you let this movie work its way into your mind and heart. Just hearing him review a movie alongside his partner Gene Siskel (who passed away in 1999 at age 53) should be enough to hook you in. “Life Itself” will get to you. If I were Ebert, my thumb would probably hit masterpiece level. His life certainly did.

Rating: 3.5/4

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