There are many films that celebrate fathers in their own way; usually as some sort sport film or fathers and sons trying to reconnect in some fashion. Roberto Benigni’s Italian film Life is Beautiful does something a bit different in it’s portrayal of the relationship, which shows the lengths a man would go through to protect the most valuable thing a child can have: their innocence.
The movie starts simply enough in 1939 with Guido (Benigni) moving into a little villiage and falls in love with a local girl named Dora (Nicoletta Braschi). After a comical whirlwind romance they marry and have a child named Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini).
Five years pass and Guido dotes on his child, using humor to answer some of life’s difficult questions like why Jews (like themselves) can’t go into the store. But then sure enough they get sent to a concentration camp where Guido convinces little Giosue that its all a game and if they get one thousand points they get a tank.
Now I must admit this does sound depressing as shit, but it’s not. There is a wonderful spirit to the whole thing where Guido, even in the darkest of times, thinks only of his son and shields him from the monstrosities that surround them. Whether its pretending to speak German to “explain” the rules of the game or hiding in the bunks to npt be found, he thinks quick on his feet to protect his son’s innocence.
Every father in the world needs to see this movie; if only to show how powerful a father’s love can be in it’s purest form. A majority of films today have failed to show this, but here’s one that basks in its unconditional love. This is a film that celebrates fathers to the highest degree, and its something I cannot stress enough. By the end of the film you will truly see that in spite of everything, Life is Beautiful.