Life Is Beautiful (1997) Review

Verdict: A Masterpiece

A comedic, solemn, tragic romance all in one film.


The film follows the life of Guido (Roberto Benigni- who also directed and co-wrote this movie), as he finds love (Nicolleta Braschi) and starts a family. However, set in the 1930s, German troops soon invade and they are taken to a concentration camp. As his son, Joshua (Giorgio Cantarini) is still pretty young, Guido fabricates a story of them being there as a game, and that the winner gets a real tank.

I did feel really sad after the movie, but I feel like they made too much of a comedy out of this, so it wasn’t as impactful as it could’ve been. Benigni does a really good job in his character, and the whole film basically rides on his shoulders. The rest of the cast weren’t that important though they did play necessary roles.

The first half of the film, we see Guido cruising along and winning people over with his humour and wit — which led me to believe that this film was something like a three idiots movie. However that was not the case, and maybe if they played down the comedic element just a bit, it would’ve been a lot more effective.

During the second half, it was pretty heartbreaking to watch him interact with his son and being so cheerful while death and suffering surrounds them. But the Holocaust being a really serious topic, Guido felt just a bit too comfortable/ cheerful in the camp. I get that he was like that for the son, but if we just saw a little breakdown of his character or something like that, it would’ve added so much more depth to the film instead of his character being kind of two dimensional. Another thing is that he seems to move around freely and from my knowledge, that is not so easy in a concentration camp. Just a thought.

Overall, this was a really great film with an emphasis on family, love and hope, and had great characters and actors to complement.

To sum-up:
PROS: Acting, story, inclusion of so many elements (comedy, hope)
CONS: Bit too comedic, bit unrealistic camp setting

I give this a 9/10.

Have you watched Life is Beautiful? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!


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