Friday, October 1, 2010

Life is Beautiful. C+


I sort of wanted to not like Life is Beautiful, not because I disagree with its purpose, but because everything I've heard about it makes it sound like an I Am Sam-esque story (though without a mentally handicapped man) of a father's unyielding love for his son, delivered with a heaping of sweet sentimentality. And there's other factors too, such as Roberto Benigni's wild, chair-climbing celebration upon winning the Oscar for Best Actor. So why would I watch a movie not that I think I'll dislike, but that I want to dislike? Mainly because there's a certain satisfaction when a movie fulfills your initial expectations, be them good or bad. As it turns out, the movie's half-way decent, certainly guilty of what I had dreaded, but also far more moving than something like I am Sam. The film is at times very delightful, and the final half hour or so is pretty remarkable. But a lot of the movie was annoying, like watching a man who is too happy for us to really believe him. I guess that's the point, though it would have been nice if Benigni had managed some quieter, peaceful moments like the Chaplin pictures he wants to emulate so much. Life is Beautiful has a great spirit, and contains a solid message of maintaining a positive attitude no matter what the circumstance may be. There were too many parts that had me cringing to recommend it fully, but if you thought I am Sam was half as good as I think Life is Beautiful is, then you'll probably love it.

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