Saturday, November 26, 2011

Life is Beautiful (1997)



“This is a simple story... but not an easy one to tell.”

            Life is Beautiful is a movie that everyone has to see. Everyone that I know that has seen this movie loves it. It is one of the most beautifully told, filmed, and acted movies you will ever see.
            Guido is a bumbling, carefree book keeper. When the movie begins he and his friend are on their way to the city from the country to find work. Guido dreams of opening his own bookstore but first he needs to make money. On the way to his uncle’s house where he and his friend will be living he meets a woman whom he calls Principessa- princess in Italian. She literally falls in his lap as she was working on the top floor of a barn house.
            Once in the city Guido gets a job as a waiter in a fancy hotel. He tries to get a store to open his house but his personality gets away. He keeps bumping into his Principessa over and over again. At the opera one night Guido gets his chance to impress his Principessa -whose name we find out is Dora. Dora and Guido have a great time together they fall completely in love. Unfortunately Dora is to be married to the man who would not give Guido his book store.
            Dora’s family throws her engagement shower at the hotel where Guido works. The whole night they cannot keep their eyes off the other. Guido decides that to get the girl of his dreams he must do something big. The biggest thing he thinks of is the white horse that is waiting outside. He literally rides in on a white horse (well it is green because some fascist have written something nasty on it) to take his Principessa away.
            A few years later Guido and Dora have a son named Joshua. They are very happy together living at Guido’s uncle’s house and he finally got his bookstore. On the day of Joshua’s birthday Dora come home from picking her mother up and she finds the uncle, her husband, and her son gone and the home is complete chaos. Guido along with his uncle are Jews and have been deported to a concentration camp. Dora gets to the train station before the train to the camp departs. She tells the Nazi guards she wants to get on the train. She does not want to be left behind without her family.
            Joshua does not know what is going on and Guido does not want him to know. In order to keep his son alive Guido turns the horrible situation into a game. While everyone around them is miserable Guido is light keeping his bumbling carefree personality in full gear.
            I cannot give away too much more you will have to sit through the movie.
            Robert Benigni plays Guido and also directed the movie. He was spectacular as both actor and director. He had so much energy he leaves you wondering how exhausted he must have been after doing several of the scenes. The chemistry between Guido and Dora is so cute, being greatly helped by the fact that Benigni is married to Nicoletta Braschi. She was great as well. The little boy who played Joshua was adorable and he was a pretty good actor too he was not annoying. The ending with him is heartbreaking and fantastic because he was so great.
            The first time I ever saw Life is Beautiful when I was in high school. I cannot remember what class I watched it but I can clearly remember just loving it. It is a film that after all these years I have never forgotten.
            Life is Beautiful is a mix of comedy, drama, and tragedy. Those are three genres you would never think would work well together but in this movie they helped to create one of the most moving and stunning films of all time. Everything about this movie is just flawless and wonderful. Life is Beautiful is a movie that every person with a heart and soul should see.