If, like me, you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you will remember these fun-loving city-slickers:
But, if I were to tell you that watching ‘Life is Beautiful’ is like watching a feature-length episode of ‘Perfect Strangers’, what would you say to me?
I hope you’d say, “Don’t be ridi-cool-us”.
But I’m not being ridi-cool-us. The slapstick antics of the first half of the film would have been very much at home in that Chicago apartment.
In fact, the first half of the film borders on romantic comedy, which as we know is quite strange for the imdb Top 100 list. Never fear, however, the second half more than makes up for it! (We’ll get to that in a moment…)
While romantic comedy-esque, it seemed to me very much romance from the male perspective. If you’ll permit me a few broad generalisations here, girls are brought up on movies that lead them to believe that love is a fairytale and their handsome, rich, intelligent Prince Charming is just around the corner waiting to sweep them off her feet. If this male version of romantic comedy is anything to go by, the guys are led to believe that all they need to do is stalk a woman until she gives in and even the slightest flyweight can punch his way into the heavyweight category. It’s something Charlie Chaplin relied heavily on, but I ain’t buying it (even if both proved true for me and my real-life Stalker Charming ;))
I did say that the second half more than makes up for these lovey-dovey antics, and it really does. It’s a war movie, pure and simple and, aside from a few comical moments, it’s equally as depressing as ‘The Pianist‘ or ‘Schindler’s List‘. As in ‘Bicycle Thieves‘, the youngest star steals the show from the moment he appears and, at times, his face alone was enough to bring me to tears.
I enjoyed the underlying message of this film, which seemed to be that: in the midst of suffering, we can find beauty if only we look. Some people far less fortunate than me might say all of life is a struggle. I guess our dorky lead, Guido, would say the opposite, “Life is beautiful”.
And I suppose it is.
Have you seen ‘Life is Beautiful’? Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments below.