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Life Itself Summary

Steve James

Life Itself

by Steve James

Life Itself

Steve James

Clock Icon5 min
Insight Icon3 key insights
Audio IconVisual, audio & text

Life Itself is a documentary exploring the life and legacy of famous film critic and screenwriter Roger Ebert.

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Life Itself

by Steve James

Life Itself

Steve James

Overview

For nearly half a century, Roger Ebert reviewed movies. From being an award-winning reviewer in the Chicago Sun-Times to an influential critic with a TV show, Ebert's thoughts and opinions came to define mainstream opinions of cinema. Although Ebert never harbored childhood dreams of becoming a film critic, he became not only a prolific writer and speaker but one of the world's forefront leaders of film criticism.

Ebert died in 2013 after a decade-long battle with thyroid cancer; director Steve James made this award-winning documentary toward the end of the critic's life. Although Ebert's lower jaw was removed and he struggled to speak in the run-up to his death, his personality and passion for cinema shine through in the film. Flicking between Ebert's illustrious past and somber present, Life Itself explores both the man himself and the impact he had on cinema and film criticism.

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Favorite Quote

"For me, the movies are a bit like a machine that generates empathy. It lets you understand a little bit more about different hopes, aspirations, dreams, and fears."

Roger Ebert

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