Life Is Beautiful ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Maybe life isn’t all that beautiful, but this film certainly is. 

It starts off innocently, with Roberto Benigni and his juvenile antics, pursuing his dream woman, solving riddles with a customer and generally viewing the world with an unrelenting optimism. There are some hints of what’s to come but the main story is joyous, loving, beautiful. 

Of course, this can’t go on for long. Not in Italy in the 30/40’s. Amidst the horrors of the Holocaust, a father tries to create a story, a beautiful world for his son not just to entertain him, but to save him. He saves his mental state, as kids are especially vulnerable to this horrid situation but also literally saves his life by making hiding and staying quiet part of an intriguing game. 

Is this film flawlessly executed? No perhaps not. Benigni can become overbearing at times and the first act is a bit too long. But the central themes and core message of this is so beautiful, important, heartwarming and emotional that it doesn’t really matter. Prepare for tears.