Last night Adam and I watched the recently released documentary Life Itself. It follows this meteoric rise of the nation’s most influential movie critic and his heroic battle against thyroid, and later jaw cancer.
It’s extremely well made and features an entertaining set of peripheral characters, a motley crew of old friends, current directors, and pervious producers. I remember watching him on television when I was younger and I think we are all familiar with his (and Gene Siskel’s) ubiquitous rating system, “Two Thumbs Up!”, as a defining indicator of a movie’s worth. It was fun to see how his role helped shape the way we see and interact with movies, not to mention the dramatic backstory between Siskel and Ebert. Fascinating!
What was most touching was the love story between Roger and his wife, Chaz. They married a bit later in life, but their love was enduring and so gentle. Watching her take care of him and support him before he died was truly beautiful.
You can see it in theaters in the States, but we were able to rent it on iTunes and watch it at home. Do you have any interest in seeing it? Whether or not you were familiar with him as a writer and a critic I think you’ll really enjoy this documentary. I already posted the trailer a while ago when I talked about some of my other favorite documentaries, but here it is again just in case you missed it: