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Life Itself

Directed by Steve James
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3.5
Community: star rating
5 3.5 0
July 9, 2014

America's most gladiatorial film critic (those thumbs!) is celebrated with bawdy humor and unabashed heart in Steve James' documentary Life Itself. Cancer ravaged Ebert's body and robbed him of his voice, but he blogged about film till the day he died, in 2013 at age 71. The film is really a love story between Roger and his courageous wife, Chaz, and Roger and the movies. He let the world flow into his plain-spoken reviews, seeing film as "a machine that generates empathy." Having the movie open at Sundance, where Ebert regularly championed indie film, including James' Hoop Dreams, is only fitting. Having it out now in national release allows a wide audience to see what Roger was made of. Don't miss it. Though Life Itself is a warts-and-all portrait Ebert didn't live to review, my guess is his thumbs would be shooting upward. Mine sure are.

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