Life Itself recounts the life of the late Roger Ebert, the most influential mainstream film critic in the history of cinema. The documentary shows the impact Ebert has had on the movie industry through his contributions to film criticism, writing cult-classic Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and winning a Pulitzer Prize for one of his many books. The movie also explores Roger's battle with cancer and his explosive friendship with fellow critic, Gene Siskel.
Based on Ebert's 2011 memoir of the same name, Life Itself was shot during the last four months of his life.This documentary actually began production months before Ebert knew he was going to die, and so Ebert had acclaimed director Steve James (All My Children, American Fighter) take charge.
Take a look at the documentary - which includes some fascinating surprises, including footage of Siskel as something of an adopted son of Hugh Hefner, references to Ebert at Alcoholics Anonymous, and Martin Scorsese breaking down in tears at TIFF - and see if you think James has done Ebert's life justice:
I miss having that man in the world. Life Itself looks like it'll be a frank, affectionate tribute to a larger-than-life life. As a cinephile, I owe Roger Ebert a lot. As a human being, ditto.
Has the movie industry lost its best critic?