Steve James' Life Itself is a documentary feature recounting the inspiring life of world renowned film critic Robert Ebert. Starting from his childhood and leading all the way up to his death, Life Itself is an intimate portrait of arguably one of the most important figures in cinema history. Steve James is a talented documentary filmmaker who understands that a film's style should be dictated by its subject, and with Life Itself he lets Roger tell his own story to a degree, using Ebert's written memoir as a way to deeply personalize the story and capture the true essence of the man. The film is an honest and heartfelt documentary that is a mix of emotions, being funny, painful, and hopeful all at once. Life Itself explores the overall legacy of Roger Ebert, capturing his relationship with Gene Siskel, touching on how he revolutionized film critique, and how he became one of the most influential cultural voices in America. At one point the film veers into the art vs. commerce discussion centered around cinema, but like Robert Ebert himself, Steve James doesn't show much interest in exploring this conversation, instead focusing more on the personal story of Roger Ebert. Life Itself is a must-see documentary for anyone who was a fan of Roger Ebert, giving a deeply personal look into the man behind the written word.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.