This Italian foreign language film I found to be extremely well written and performed, mostly by auteur Roberto Benigni; who directed, wrote and starred in the picture.
I found the film perfectly mixes both the highs of witty, smartly written comedy which occupies the first half of the film, following a Jewish waiter, Guido, as he attempts to woo the girl of his dreams, Dora, through the means of a series of coincidences matching with riddles he’s set before hand, forcing the two to cross paths a number of times.
The second half of the film follows the now married Jewish/Italian family, now with a young son named Joshua, and living in late 30s/early 40s Italy, where the Nazi’s have slowly started to invade and forcing Jews to mark their homes and places of work. Soon, on Joshua’s birthday, the family are siezed and sent to a Concentration Camp.
The second half of the film shifts into a sombre and heart aching moments throughout in which a Father tries his best to hide the atrocities of a Nazi concentration camp from his young impressionable son, as Guido pretends they are simply playing a game.
The film does extremely well and luring the audience in with a soft lighthearted first half of the film, making you fall in love with the very likeable and interesting characters, and slowly the bubble begins to burst. The Nazi’s enter the frame as the film wares on, and the second half, now having the audience emotionally invested in the characters, leaves you gripped to the film for the remainder of the film and for some time afterwards.
The film was beautifully shot and brilliantly written from start to finish, and I would highly recommend to anyone. Having been a fan of foreign films from France, Japan and Hong Kong, this was my first Italian foreign film I’ve watched and I thoroughly believe it deserved it’s Academy Awards nominations and subsequent wins, and rightfully deserves to be a part of the acclaimed iMDB Top 250 films of all time list.