Life is Beautiful

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +3

This beautiful award winning Italian drama with English subtitles begins in 1936. Director, co-writer and star Roberto Benigni plays Guido, a carefree comical young man. He and his friend arrive in a small village where Guidoxs uncle lives. In a series of comical mishaps Guido meets and wins the heart of Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), a beautiful school teacher. Guido reminds us of Robin Williams doing a comic routine during the first third of the movie. But then the story turns deadly serious when a few years later the Nazis have occupied Italy. Shop windows have signs reading 'No dogs or Jews allowed', and Jewish Guido is under constant surveillance. He and Dora have an adorable 4-year-old boy who idolizes his dad. When Guido and his son are snatched up and sent off to a concentration camp, Italian Dora insists on going too. Guido hides the boy in the grimy barracks so that he avoids being sent to the gas chambers with the other children and old people. But Guido makes all this a game, clowning around with his son and telling him that this whole adventure is a contest. If they win, the boy will get a real tank as a prize. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL is a tribute to the human spirit. Everyone over 12 should see it.

In spite of the concentration camp setting, LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL has no horror scenes. Young children and older people too frail to work are led into the gas chamber and told to remove their clothes, implying they all died there. Rough treatment by Nazi officers and an off-screen machine gun killing spare audiences from witnessing atrocities. In the early part of the film, Guido and his friend create mayhem with some slapstick antics. Two exclamatory profanities are spoken, but no other even slightly offensive language was read in the subtitles. Guido's love for his wife and son drives him to use his amazing imagination to keep their spirits and hope alive. After working long hours under unbearable conditions at the camp, he always came back with a clever upbeat story for his son hidden away. He even manages once to broadcast over a loudspeaker to assure his wife in the womenxs barracks that her family is alive and well. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL deserves public support. We urge our readers who enjoy wholesome, intelligent films to compliment Miramax Films for bringing this movie to the U.S. theaters.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Few (2) times - Exclamatory (thank God, Good Lord)

Violence: Few times - Moderate (slapstick bicycle crash, flower pot drops on head, clumsy behavior; implied mass killing in concentration camp; prisoners receive rough treatment by soldiers; man executed off-screen)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times (wine drinking)

Other: Father's love for family dominant theme

Running Time: 122 minutes
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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