KK Slider’s review published on Letterboxd:
First I would like to thank one of my favorite people on Instagram (@darrenmoviereviews) for suggesting and awesome event and for @movieloversmovieclub finally giving me an excuse to check out a new favorite of mine.
It is absolutely ridiculous that this movie has only a 59 on Metacritc. I get that at times it can be a little bit sappy, slightly overbearing, and even goofy but I truly can’t understand why anyone would give this movie less than a 70. Now I do have some mixed feeling on the direction but I will say for the most part it is fantastic; It hit me in a very unexpected way, a way that made truly made me feel special. I know that many see this as Benigni’s only great film and I can’t really argue with that, but there is no denying this something great.
Say what you want about Roberto Benigni as of late, his physical comedy is perfect for the part here and he shows that he's got the acting chops to pull of a dramatic performance. The final look he gives to his son before being dragged to his inevitable [Spoiler Redacted] is bone-chilling, however I especially love the cartoonishly exaggerated way he passes the kid's hiding spot afterwards, making sure that the [Spoiler Redacted]. You can see that this was Benigni's passion project, and it's absolutely obvious why. He kills it in this role and shows all his heart, and while the first half isn't as complex as the second one and pretty simple overall, I still enjoyed it nonetheless. The emotional stakes of the story are great and are paired with a fantastic screenplay which only add to the enjoyment. Some of the other acting is a little hit or miss, although I do have to admit it is mostly great.
With good cinematography and clean editing it should be clear I will dig this from a technical standpoint. The costume and production design were both standouts that only contributed to my overall enjoyment of the movie. The first act does drag a bit which did affect the pacing for me, but not too badly. The score was something very prominent in the film that really stood out to me and I feel it should be mentioned. As much as I would want to say it did something truly magnificent from a technical perspective, other than these things it was fine.
In conclusion, with films like Inglorious Basterds, Jojo Rabbit, and Life is Beautiful dramedies set during the Holocaust/WW2 Era may be some of my favorite films.