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I cannot recommend strongly enough that you see a new documentary called Life Itself, which is about the life and death of the popular film critic Roger Ebert.

It is a remarkable movie, filmed in the months leading up to Ebert's death from cancer last year. While it is directed by Steve James (who made Hoop Dreams, a movie that Ebert championed), the movie is very much an Ebert production - his memoir (also called "Life Itself") is liberally quoted, and he is seen offering suggestions and directions to the documentarians.

The move essentially follows two tracks. It follows Ebert's life as a college newspaper editor, film critic for the Chicago Sun Times, recovered alcoholic, author, TV celebrity (and a nemesis to his co-host, Gene Siskel) and general raconteur; it also celebrates his marriage, late in life, to Chaz Ebert, a relationship that added immeasurably to his happiness and satisfaction. But, the movie also looks unflinchingly at Ebert's illness, as his jaw was partially removed, which left him unable to talk, eat or drink. But even facing enormous challenges and pain, Ebert continued to write, becoming even more prolific in the last months of his life, all of which are shown - to the point of sometimes being hard to look at.

Life Itself is an enormously profound and moving movie … maybe not the best choice of a movie to watch just days after the death of my sister from cancer … but in the end, it is a movie about life, not death. It is intimate and moving. It celebrates a man of great passion and talent … and it is one of the best documentaries of its kind that I have ever seen.

And here's the good news. While Life Itself has just been released to theaters, it also is available on iTunes, making it easier to see and share.

See it. ASAP.




That's it for this week. Once again, I thank you for all the emails and notes, and I hope you have a great weekend.

See you Monday.

Slàinte!
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