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Life Itself (2014)

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The life and career of the renowned film critic and social commentator, Roger Ebert.

Director:

Steve James
25 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Martin Scorsese ... Himself
Ava DuVernay ... Herself
Werner Herzog ... Himself
Errol Morris ... Himself
Roger Ebert ... Himself
Ramin Bahrani ... Himself
Gene Siskel ... Himself (archive footage)
Stephen Stanton ... Roger Ebert (voice)
Steve James ... Himself
Chaz Ebert ... Herself
Gregory Nava ... Himself
William Nack ... Himself
Donna La Pietra Donna La Pietra ... Herself (as Donna LaPietra)
Marlene Siskel Marlene Siskel ... Herself (as Marlene Iglitzen)
Nancy De Los Santos Nancy De Los Santos ... Herself (as Nancy De Los Santos-Reza)
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Storyline

'Life Itself' recounts the surprising and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert - a story that's by turns personal, wistful, funny, painful, and transcendent. The film explores the impact and legacy of Roger Ebert's life: from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism and his nearly quarter-century run with Gene Siskel on their review show, to becoming one of the country's most influential cultural voices, and finally to Roger's inspiring battles with cancer and the resulting physical disability - how he literally and symbolically put a new face on the disease and continued to be a cultural force despite it. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The only thing Roger loved more than movies


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief sexual images/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 July 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Life Itself See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$153,875 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$131,411, 4 July 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$809,724, 10 October 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Contrary to popular belief, the film is not narrated by Roger Ebert. Vocal impersonator Stephen Stanton provided his talents while mimicking Ebert's distinct sound. Stanton also voiced Ebert on Robot Chicken (2005). See more »

Quotes

Roger Ebert: In the past 25 years I have probably seen 10,000 movies and reviewed 6,000 of them. I have forgotten most of them, I hope, but I remember those worth remembering, and they are all on the same shelf in my mind.
See more »

Connections

References One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Your Man
Written & performed by Leonard Cohen
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A love story about accepting mortality. Powerful and wonderful.
11 July 2014 | by Sergeant_TibbsSee all my reviews

Above all, Life Itself is a love story. It didn't matter who it was about, it ends as a love story about dealing with mortality. You can imagine that Roger Ebert would've been proud to have been at the centre of such a heartbreaking and inspirational story. Steve James' documentary opens on Ebert's reason for loving cinema. It's about learning empathy for those sharing this journey of life with us. It's something that Life Itself certainly does for Ebert. I never knew much about him before his death. I live in England so I never even heard of him until I found the internet and then he was only a name or the picture on his old website. He was someone people loved to bring up whether to agree or disagree with his opinions. I don't think I even read one of his reviews until after he died, all I knew where his Oscar predictions and the fact he claimed Synecdoche, New York the best of the decade.

And so, Life Itself gives me my first glimpse of the brotherhood between Siskel & Ebert. Before the film becomes a love story of Ebert and his wife Chaz, it's a love story between two men. The film takes their most electric moments and it fills you with the fiery passion for cinema, something that's too easily diluted over time. The film's montages are full of a warm energy, and they're wonderful to watch, even if the storyline can be a little muddled. You wonder on why they focus on certain details at particular points, but the reasons emerge. It's difficult to see Ebert in his last months with his jaw skin drooping, but his smile beams through and it's great to see such an attitude. At its best the film is pure poetry, and the tributes at the end made me weep. Accepting death brings a wind of peace. I wish it had more structure so it could be a favourite, but it's powerful stuff as it is. Very revealing documentary that digs comfortably into a deeply personal vulnerable spot.

8/10


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