documentary hack
Life ItselfBy Steve James

In a Nutshell

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

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


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 his own 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. Ebert's lower jaw was removed and he struggled to speak in the run-up to his death. His personality and passion for cinema still shine through in the film, however. 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.

Here are the 3 key insights from this Hack

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    Roger Ebert completely changed how film criticism was viewed
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