Life is Beautiful

I don’t often use this forum to talk about a movie, but when I discover that I’m still thinking about a particular film days—or even weeks—later, I want to share it. The story is funny, romantic, touching, uplifting, and heartbreaking.

The movie? Life is Beautiful. The Italian film was made in 1998 and was nominated for 7 Academy Awards – winning 3 Oscars, including best actor and best foreign film.

I love foreign films. I explain to people that if the movie is done well, you can engage to a point of forgetting that you’re reading subtitles. Some have a hard time believing that.

When one of my daughters was encouraged by a friend to watch the movie and asked I’d view it with her, I jumped at the chance. Never one to watch foreign films, she discovered that I was right. She became so immersed in the beautiful story, the subtitles didn’t hinder her enjoyment.

Life is Beautiful is the story of Guido, a charming, but bumbling waiter gifted with an imagination and a wonderful sense of humor. He wins the heart of the woman he loves and they have a son. Their lives are truly beautiful . . .

But Guido is Jewish and when the Nazi’s take him and his son, his wife voluntarily gets on the train to the concentration camp. Guido uses his strengths to bring hope and beauty to his family in the midst of horrible conditions.

There might be some who would view the watered down misery of the prisoners as being insensitive to what actually happened to the victims of the holocaust. But even as the atrocities of the prison are softened, the reality of what happened to the Jewish people is still stated. The movie isn’t so much about the pain of what people experienced in the camps, but the spirit of the people, and the ability to survive.

This film is about seeing the good in our lives, no matter what our circumstances are. It’s about making a choice to see beauty – even while surrounded by ugliness. It’s about the kind of love shared between a husband and wife – and the love shared between a parent and child.

I won’t spoil the ending for you . . . but despite some sadness, I also felt uplifted. And hopefully, even a bit changed.

Life is beautiful.


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