Thursday, March 26, 2009

Movie review: Life is Beautiful

This is one of those movies that does a quick about-face halfway through. It begins as a sweet romance about a goofball Italian waiter and the schoolteacher he keeps running into around town. He rescues her from her engagement to a boor. It was a little like watching a Marx Brothers movie.

Second reel, and we find the happy couple living in Mussolini's Italy with their young son. The waiter is Jewish and soon he and their son are sent away to the camps. Mother insists on being sent along with them although she isn't Jewish.

Father convinces the son that the camp is a giant game where they earn points for their work. The first team to earn 1,000 gets a real tank - the boy's favorite toy.

I found Father to be unconvincing and overplayed. The boy's innocence was sweet but unbelievable. I didn't really feel pulled into the movie, although the payoff at the end is ironically entertaining.

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