Dolev Amitai’s review published on Letterboxd:
What starts off as another Benigni physical comedy soon turns into one of the funniest yet harrowing tales of the holocaust.
For the first half hour, Benigni plays a poor jewish waiter who falls in love with a richer woman, Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), who he starts to woo constantly.
This part of the film sets the setting, with the nazis and facists growing in power in Italy. This part sets the entire tone and time period of the film.
This part is really funny. I always enjoyed watching Benigni and his high energy comedy. Anyone who watched his roles in Jarmusch's films (Down by Law, Night on Earth) will know his physical comedy sense.
Sort of a Chaplin like, with a lot more energy and talking.
Then starts the second part. Benigni now has a child with Dora, and the Nazis are in conrol of Italy..
The entire family is taken to the concentration camp, while Dora is seperated from the other two.
In order to guard his son from the horrors of the camp, he invents a game for his son.
Through this game, we see the lengths Benigni goes to shelter his son.
As a memeber of a family who had lost lives in the holocaust, I find it a very toucy subject.
Life Is Beautiful could have easily turned into a laughable and offending film.
When you think about the holocaust, you don't really think about comedy and making fun of the horrors.
But Benigni makes this possible. It says a lot when I could not stop laughing while watching this film.
The script is simply genius. It goes from laughing at the horrible situations, to a complete nerve wrecking scenes.
As I usually say, the script is the most important thing in a film.
More than anything else.
And this film shows it.
Benigni also directed this film. And while he does a well enough job, there are some parts that a better and skilled director could have made better.
But because the script is so good, along with the great performances, make this film so enjoyable.
Life Is Beautiful stands as one the best comedies I have seen.
From the terrific script and the funny and great performances.
It is simply terrific.