There are some movies that have something magical. Something that keeps you glued to the screen and care a lot for its characters. La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful) is one of those movies that manages to enchant you. It initially is a very comedic and fun story, but slowly drama creeps into the movie and after watching it you will be heartbroken.
When Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni, who also directed the movie) is on his way to the city to get some work he meets the beautiful Dora (Nicoletta Braschi). He’s very attracted to her and every time he sees her he calls her “Principessa” and tries to find out more about her. He manages to win her heart and the two get married and have a son, Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini). To earn a living Guido runs a bookshop and the family has a good life until the second world war start. Guido is jewish and the Germans manage to find the family and they are brought to a concentration camp. Because Guido want to protect his son from all the horrible stuff that is happening there he tells them that they are participating in a game show where they can earn points for everything they do. If you get to 1000 points you have won and will get a real tank. It’s a beautiful (and at the same time sad) story which shows that the way you look at things can change how you experience them.
The movie has a lot of great scenes with lots of humour. Roberto Benigni is responsible for most of them (he won an Oscar for his role). It’s not only jokes he’s making, as he manages to give the character a lot of depth because of the situation they are in. You see him struggling with everything that is happening, but can’t show it to his son. As you are watching it you know about all the horrible things that happened during the second world war. Benigni doesn’t show a lot of it though which makes the movie even more effective (The Pianist did this as well).
Giorgio Cantarini is cute as the son who completely believes the game his father has made up. The ending of the movie will crush your heart and it is no surprise that this movie appears in so many best of lists, it’s a perfect movie.
Interested in other movies which I’ve awarded a 10?
A complete list can be found here.