Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: , , , , ,
  • Summary: In 2013, we lost Roger Ebert—arguably the nation’s best-known and most influential movie critic. Based on his memoir of the same name, Life Itself recounts Ebert’s fascinating and flawed journey—from politicized school newspaperman, to Chicago Sun-Times movie critic, to Pulitzer PrizeIn 2013, we lost Roger Ebert—arguably the nation’s best-known and most influential movie critic. Based on his memoir of the same name, Life Itself recounts Ebert’s fascinating and flawed journey—from politicized school newspaperman, to Chicago Sun-Times movie critic, to Pulitzer Prize winner, to television household name, to the miracle of finding love at 50, and finally his “third act” as a major voice on the Internet when he could no longer physically speak. [Magnolia Pictures] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 35
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 35
  3. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Chase Whale
    Jan 27, 2014
    100
    James tells this unapologetic story with little sympathy, as per Ebert’s wishes, and a lot of passion—he wants the audience to really know who Roger Ebert was, and understand the importance of his work.
  2. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Jul 3, 2014
    100
    This is a uniquely powerful motion picture, the kind of open and honest portrayal I can't ever recall having seen about a celebrity. Life Itself stands not only as a moving piece of documentary cinema but an epitaph.
  3. Reviewed by: Simon Kinnear
    Dec 10, 2014
    100
    The film’s power lies in its use of archive footage, voiceover and even Ebert’s computerised speech translator to keep the writer’s voice alive.
  4. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Jul 5, 2014
    88
    Life itself, that loaded two-word phrase, is what Roger really wrote about when he wrote about movies.
  5. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 15, 2014
    80
    The heart of Life Itself, and the part of the film that’s most instructive even for those familiar with Ebert’s story, is the long middle section dealing with his stormy, never-resolved relationship with Gene Siskel.
  6. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Jul 3, 2014
    80
    Life Itself may sound like it's a film that would only be of interest to those who knew Ebert personally or to fellow film critics, but the opposite is true.
  7. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Jun 29, 2014
    63
    There's a sense throughout of Steve James rushing and dutifully covering all his bases to evade accusations of creating a puff piece.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Jul 6, 2014
    10
    An uplifting and inspirational movie about Ebert's colorful life up to his last day, where sickness did not take over him instead, he thoughtAn uplifting and inspirational movie about Ebert's colorful life up to his last day, where sickness did not take over him instead, he thought it was the right moment to let go. Expand
  2. Jul 5, 2014
    10
    An uplifting and mesmerizing experience that should change your view of life. You can take Roger Ebert's life for an example, he lived hisAn uplifting and mesmerizing experience that should change your view of life. You can take Roger Ebert's life for an example, he lived his life enjoying every second of it and fought up to his last day where he had to let go and not because sickness took over him, but because he felt it is the right time. Two thumbs up, and may God bless your soul. Expand
  3. Oct 24, 2014
    9
    My stomach sinks a little when I don't see Ebert's film reviews in newspapers and magazines anymore. As I watched the film, I couldn't helpMy stomach sinks a little when I don't see Ebert's film reviews in newspapers and magazines anymore. As I watched the film, I couldn't help but wonder how he would critique this immaculate eulogy. Pretentious and bloated? Down-to-earth and ravishing? Or stylish and rich in character? The film did not shy away from exposing the big picture. His faults. His mistakes. His strengths. His victories. All are shown and illustrated tastefully, on a fresh canvas dotted with over-arching messages about, appropriately titled, life itself, and many other over-arching themes that transcend the impermanence of human consciousness. Expand
  4. Jul 6, 2014
    9
    If all you like are loud, special effects driven films, you should probably avoid "Life Itself." For the rest of us, this film is well worthIf all you like are loud, special effects driven films, you should probably avoid "Life Itself." For the rest of us, this film is well worth seeing. It is a balanced, yet loving tribute of one of the 20th Century's most influential film critic. Hagiography the film is not, highlighting Ebert's many faults along with his achievements. The film includes interviews with his critics along with his many fans. Expand
  5. Jul 5, 2014
    8
    A heartwarming, sometimes-heartbreaking, but always-truthful portrait of someone whose considerable influence changed the way we see moviesA heartwarming, sometimes-heartbreaking, but always-truthful portrait of someone whose considerable influence changed the way we see movies forever. Through interviews with friends, family and colleagues, along with archival shots and exclusive footage of his final days, we learn the about the public and very private sides of Roger Ebert, an inspiring figure whose impact still hasn't been fully measured -- or appreciated -- and not just in the cinematic arena. Expand
  6. Jul 13, 2014
    7
    Although I was moved and had a tear in my eye, I could have done with less of the hospital scenes. I don't need to see the feeding holeAlthough I was moved and had a tear in my eye, I could have done with less of the hospital scenes. I don't need to see the feeding hole cleaned repeatedly to get the message of the horrors of cancer and his bravery. That was overdone. Still, I learned so much that I did not know and consider this am essential film for film goers. I do question why Richard Roepert was left out of the film. I recommend the film but I don't think most people are aware how much time the film concentrates

    on his dying days.
    Expand
  7. Jul 19, 2014
    6
    Life Itself is a documentary about the life the legendary film critic, Roger Ebert. The movie is based on his autobiography, which is alsoLife Itself is a documentary about the life the legendary film critic, Roger Ebert. The movie is based on his autobiography, which is also titled "Life itself". The movie is full of intriguing and personal moments in the life of Ebert and events that led to his death.

    Growing up outside USA, I never watched Ebert's TV shows ("Sneak Previews" and "At the Movies") and I never read his critics (on Chicago Sun-Times). This movie shed some light on Ebert's life and showed me why he was such an influential figure. But at the same time, I could not care about Ebert more than any other successful professional person I know. The movie shows what an exceptional critic Ebert was, and at the same time, shows he was not very different from any other ordinary man.

    If you like cinema and history of it or if you like movies about movies, Life Itself is the right movie for you. Otherwise, Life Itself can be boring and you will leave the theater asking your self "Why should I care about Ebert?"
    Expand

Trailers

Related Articles

  1. Best of 2014: Film Awards & Nominations Scorecard

    Best of 2014: Film Awards & Nominations Scorecard Image
    Published: December 1, 2014
    Find a complete list of 2014's major film awards and nominations from dozens of professional organizations and critic associations, as well as a running scorecard of the year's biggest winners. Check daily for updates throughout December and January.
  2. Movie Preview: 10 Films to See in July

    Movie Preview: 10 Films to See in July Image
    Published: July 1, 2014
    We pick out the 10 most notable movies heading to theaters in July, including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Boyhood, Life Itself, and more.