Life Itself (2014)

2015 #166
Steve James | 121 mins | streaming (HD) | 16:9 | USA / English | 15 / R

Roger Ebert was an influential, respected, beloved critic for decades, and one with an interesting life: he began in old-school newspaper journalism, defined TV movie criticism, and eventually spearheaded the profession’s move online. So it merits recounting in this documentary by the director of Hoop Dreams, a film Ebert championed.

Based on his memoir, it tells Ebert’s story while also documenting his final days — as filming began, his long-standing illness worsened. The result serves as a tribute, but it’s no hagiography: his darker sides are explored, making the film more truthful (something Ebert would have supported) and better for it.

4 out of 5

This drabble review is part of the 100 Films Advent Calendar 2015. Read more here.

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