Throwback Movie Review: Life is Beautiful


Niki Savinelli, Writer

Life is Beautiful is a 1997 drama and comedy film, directed by Roberto Benigni. The movie stars Roberto himself as Guido Orefice, Nicoletta Braschi as Dora, and Giorgio Cantarini as Joshua. This movie takes place during World War II. The film has received a variety of awards for its incredible screenplay and acting, and I could for sure understand why.

Guido is an Italian-Jewish waiter/bookshop owner who falls in love with Dora, a schoolteacher. The first half of the movie demonstrates their love for one another and Guido’s determination to win over Dora. He sets up multiple “coincidental” incidents to display his love for her. Later on in the movie, they get married and have a son named, Joshua.

When World War II breaks out, all their lives are flipped upside down. Guido and his son are taken to a Nazi concentration camp, while Dora is left behind. She later convinces the soldier to put her on the train, because she refuses to be seperated from her family. When they arrive at the camp, Dora and her family almost never get to see each other. Guido would try his hardest to signal Dora to assure her that he and Joshua were okay, but would also try and hide their true situation from their son. He tells Joshua that the camp is a very complicated game in which they need to win 1,000 points in order to escape and win an army tank. Guido uses his intelligence, his sense of humor, and courage to keep hope, security, and safety to his family.

Overall, Life is Beautiful is a phenomenal movie. The film is powerful, interesting, and comical. It portrays the love and sacrifice that a father has for his son during an horrific time in history.  He is able to protect his son by making him think that being in a concentration camp is actually a game where the grand prize is a tank. Because the movie was filmed in Italian, many people are not interested in watching it, even when subtitles are available. In my opinion, when a movie is powerful and grasps my eye, the language does not matter. The suspense, facial expressions, and comical jokes made this movie come together as a brilliant piece. I would rate this movie a ten out of ten.