Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 33
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 33
  3. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jul 31, 2014
    100
    Life Itself impressively covers the elements of Ebert's memoir.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 18, 2014
    100
    Chaz Ebert says that Roger would have loved Life Itself. I'll take her word for it. She knew him far better than I did. Clearly. But I'll add this: I love it, too.
  3. Reviewed by: Geoffrey O’Brien
    Jul 3, 2014
    100
    Life Itself is a work of deftness and delicacy, by turns a film about illness and death, about writing, about cinema and, finally, and very movingly a film about love.
  4. 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.
  5. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Jul 2, 2014
    100
    Anyone who shares Ebert's love of movies and who followed his career will be exceptionally moved by Life Itself, but anyone who appreciates a well-lived life should be touched as well.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 2, 2014
    100
    The irony is that Ebert famously lost his actual voice. Yet as the extraordinary documentary Life Itself shows, that couldn’t quiet one of America’s most beloved critics and cultural commentators.
  7. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Jul 2, 2014
    100
    In the end, cancer may have cruelly taken Roger Ebert's voice, but it couldn't silence his greatest gift: his ability to speak to his audience directly, honestly, and with empathy. Thumbs up.
  8. 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.
  9. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    Jan 27, 2014
    100
    James cuts — as in all of his best work — straight to the human heart of the matter, celebrating both the writer and the man, the one inseparable from the other, largely in Ebert’s own words.
  10. Reviewed by: Daniel Fienberg
    May 22, 2014
    91
    Life Itself gives measured and pragmatic reflection to many of the things that are most interesting about Ebert's personal and professional life.
  11. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Jul 3, 2014
    90
    James — the director of Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters — gives us a sense of Ebert as a man who kept reinventing life as he went along — out of necessity, sure, though he also took some pleasure in adapting. It couldn't always have been easy, but that, too, is part of the story.
  12. Reviewed by: Genevieve Koski
    Jul 3, 2014
    90
    Death is a part of life—one that informs everything we do, on some level or another—and watching Ebert characterize whatever time he has left as “money in the bank,” from what viewers know is his deathbed, is life-affirming and heartbreaking in equal measure.
  13. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Jan 27, 2014
    90
    James has done a wonderful job of telling a colorful life story.
  14. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Jul 10, 2014
    88
    Directed by Steve James, whose “Hoop Dreams” Ebert hailed as the best film of the 1990s, it’s the kind of documentary the dying man wanted — honest, humane and inclusive.
  15. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jul 10, 2014
    88
    “Movies are a machine that helps us generate a little empathy,” Ebert said about films. Life Itself is a lovely, eloquent tribute to a man who devoted his existence to showing us just that.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 9, 2014
    88
    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.
  17. 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.
  18. Reviewed by: Bruce Ingram
    Apr 17, 2014
    88
    Far more than just a tribute to the career of the world’s most famous and influential film critic, the often revelatory Life Itself is also a remarkably intimate portrait of a life well lived — right up to the very last moment.
  19. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 27, 2014
    88
    This is a big-hearted, absorbing documentary about a writer who kept on writing until very near the end. Anyone who cared about Roger Ebert will find it necessary viewing.
  20. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Jul 5, 2014
    83
    His greatest legacy, however, as this film documents, was his courage in the endgame of his life.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. 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 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. Full Review »
  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 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. Full Review »
  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 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. Full Review »