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Life Is Beautiful Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    A deeply moving blend of cold terror and rapturous hilarity. Lovingly crafted by Italy's top comedian and most popular filmmaker, it's that rare comedy that takes on a daring and ambitious subject and proves worthy of it.

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  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Starts out as sentimental whimsy and ends as sentimental kitsch.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    It's the depiction of the love and sacrifice of a father for a son that makes Life is Beautiful worthwhile.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    To see someone even attempt bittersweet treatment of this subject is surprising, but to largely pull it off is a major feat.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Finds the right notes to negotiate its delicate subject matter.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 13+

Wrenching Holocaust fable with bittersweet humor.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the award-winning Italian import Life Is Beautiful is set during the Holocaust, and features some very difficult themes, including war, fear, and the loss of a parent. There are clear references to the atrocities being committed, but most of the focus is on the humorous efforts of a father to shelter his son from them. Drinking (wine, champagne) is visible in social settings; references are made to drunkenness.

  • Families can talk about the historical framework of the movie. Does the movie teach us anything? How have other movies dealth with the same subject?
  • Why do you think this movie was received so warmly? What makes it special?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Love for family, country, and above all, the bond between father and son, are major themes here. Fascism is discussed, and the horror of the holocaust is also underscored.

  • rolemodels true5

    Role models: Guido is a doting husband and father, and uses humor to overcome the incredible obstacles that stand in his way.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Threats of torture, hangings, and being murdered in gas chambers are discussed, and those who understand the Holocaust will get the gravity of these threats. Occasional bloody images are visible. Guns (rifles, pistols, machine guns) are visible; gunshots are audible. Tanks are visible. A major character dies.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Some mild flirtations between Guido and Dora.

  • language false2

    Language: A few words like "ass" are visible in the subtitles.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Champagne, hard liquor is visible at restaurants and social functions. Cigarette smoking is occasionally visible.