'Life Itself' Crafts Heartfelt, Candid Portrait Of Roger Ebert

July 3, 2014 7:00 PM

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'Life Itself' Crafts Heartfelt, Candid Portrait Of Roger Ebert

"Life Itself," the documentary about the many years Roger Ebert spent as the country's primo film critic and the rich but complicated personal life he led on the side, may be 2014's most wrenching film. Directed by Steve James ("The Interrupters," "Hoop Dreams"), the movie is based on Ebert's 2011 memoir by the same name. It's not a sycophantic take on the life of an American treasure, nor is it an excuse to fawn over an outsized personality who rightfully captured the nation's admiration.

James offers a warts-and-all take on Ebert's life, just as the former Chicago Sun-Times critic does in his own writing. Sandwiched between a recap of Ebert's childhood and a celebration of his contributions to popular culture, James delivers the portrait of a man who made no apologies for his bouts ...

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