Mr. DuLac’s review published on Letterboxd:
This is a simple story... but not an easy one to tell.
Well it took me 14 years but I finally watched it. It was one of those films that was so overly hyped that I'm sure if I had watched it in 1998 I would have loathed it before the first subtitle appeared on the screen.
The first half of the film serves as a pure comedy in the vein of a Charlie Chaplin film. Roberto Benigni looks nothing like Chaplin facially but he seems to embody him in spirit. I didn't think I would like a broad comedy like this, but I did because the characters are so endearing.
While the first half is pure comedy, it also serves to introduce us to Guido Orefice (Benigni)'s character and how he deals with every single situation in his life. His best asset is comedy and that's what he uses to get in and out of situations of any kind.
The second part of the film is a heartfelt drama about a father that is put in an impossible situation and deals with it the only way he knows how for all the right reasons. While it still has some comedy in it, there are some truly heartbreaking moments coming at you. The reason it works is because the character of Guido from the beginning of the film, is still the same character at his core. You're experiencing two extremes of his life back to back and how he deals with it. Benigni really gives an amazing performance in the last half of this film. My heart truly sank in some scenes. An amazing film.