Life Itself – Director, Steve James

The life and times of Roger Ebert is the subject of this film and it is not a new documentary but came out in 2014 shortly after Ebert’s death. It did have the virtue of being able to include Ebert in the story with interviews and emails – when he was too ill to speak anymore. While some may not love Ebert and his partner Gene Siskel there can be no doubt that they had a huge influence on the industry and on audiences during the run of their TV show. They were both film reviewers for rival papers in Chicago and Ebert himself fell into the job by chance, being given the assignment when the regular reviewer was unavailable. He was a gifted writer and took to the role with enthusiasm. The competition with Siskel was natural as was their eventual collaboration and in the long run close friendship. The film paints a very moving and insightful look at Ebert, his relationship with Siskel and his final years as he fought and suffered with cancer. I had not seen this movie when it came out but now would urge anyone with a love of film to have a look at one of the great film critics and a really interesting man.