102. Life is Beautiful (1997)

Film 45 in C4 Top 100 War Films

I had great hopes for this – I’m a total Italophile and knew lead actor Roberto Benigni won an Oscar for his performance in the film. However, I was totally unprepared for possibly one of the worst films I’ve ever seen.

Basically, Jewish man woos woman, they get married, have son, get transported to a concentration camp, where man tells son stories and plays games to hide the horrors within.

Reality – Benigni’s character is so utterly annoying from outset, I couldn’t believe that he beat Ian McKellen, Edward Norton and even Tom Hanks (and everyone knows how I feel about TH), to the best actor award. He is stupid, idiotic, ignorant of the atrocities around him and the concentration camp is even Disneyfied beyond comprehension. It’s apparently unmanned half the time, the barracks are nearly empty and there is only scant mention of what was really happening when people were taken to the showers.

Immensely poor taste, and the ultimate insult using slapstick and schmaltz to the millions of people who were murdered by the Nazis.


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