Rafael Jovine’s review published on Letterboxd:
Well... here's a film, you all will be surprised this the first time I've ever seen. Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond familiar with this movie but for some odd and unexplicable reason never found my way to watch it...
...and it was pretty fantastic!
Now, gotta say, I remember hearing about the unreleased Jerry Lewis where he played a clown on the holocaust - do anybody know if that film serve as any source of weird inspiration for this movie? Because Benigni seems to channel some Lewis/Chaplin-esque vibe throughout the film. Personally if I had any nitpick, it would have to be his character at the very beginning could be pretty annoying, to the point it had me wonder if the reason he was taken to the concetration camp was because he pissed someone with his antics. I think the choosing of the kid was perfect casting, with his big eyes and innocent face, Guiosue was such a heartwarming sweetheart and he irratiated such cuteness.
Nonetheless, the story on this movie is simply touching and inventive, certainly a different take to the whole mostly bleak movies taken place in WWII (which is to be expected) - speaking of bleak, man that ending was the epitome of bittersweet, it angered me so much yet it was so joyful, two emotions the movie knew how to balance very well throughout the film.
All in all, I mean, what's there to say? While the opening feels that it runs for too long and Guido can come as a prick at times, the take on the WWII, whole Nazi thing was quite unique for its time and even to this date. It definitely deserves to be seen.