Film Review Life Itself

Reviewed for Radio Times:

This engaging documentary chronicles the life and times of celebrated film critic Roger Ebert, who sadly passed away in 2013. Accompanied by passages from his own memoir, it traces a path from Ebert’s days as a fledgling journalist to the tragic battle with cancer that robbed him of his lower jaw. Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) makes great use of archive video clips and talking-head interviews, as well as candid footage of Ebert during the last few months of his life.

James doesn’t shy away from the fact that Roger could be difficult — see his antagonistic relationship with fellow critic Gene Siskel — but Life Itself still functions as a celebration of the man and his remarkable career. That said, it’s as much about the passage of time as it is cinema, and as a result the journey we are taken on is a surprisingly reflective one. Two thumbs up.