The Zookeeper's Wife
Has many lovely and moving moments but fails to capture the many layers of this unique story, relying instead on plainly-stated metaphors.
Coming off our recent Emmy win, Kartemquin Films has generously made "Life Itself," Steve James' wonderful documentary about my husband, available to stream for free until Friday, October 7th. Here is a sampling of what some critics have written about the film...
“‘Life Itself’ is a work of deftness and delicacy, by turns a film about illness and death, about writing, about cinema and, finally, and very movingly a film about love. Ebert was, by his own and others’ accounts, transformed by meeting and marrying Chaz when he was 50. She was an African-American civil rights lawyer more interested, as he put it, in who he was than in what he did. He became part of her extended family, and as we watch him in home videos from the good days before his troubles started, it is like watching a man blossoming before our eyes." - Geoffrey O'Brien, The New York Times
“There’s an overwhelming sense that Ebert’s fixation on death is simply an extension of his zeal for life in all its complexity, which ‘Life Itself’ embodies from its title on down. Death is a part of life—one that informs everything we do, on some level or another—and watching Ebert characterize whatever time he has left as ‘money in the bank,’ from what viewers know is his deathbed, is life-affirming and heartbreaking in equal measure." - Genevieve Koski, The Dissolve
“Ebert brought the joy and wonder of the movies to every impassioned review he wrote. He was a complicated person; there have been many attempts to sum up his essence succinctly. I have tried myself and failed. But if he was any one thing, I think that he was joyful. James’s documentary captures all of this in the starkest and yet loveliest light. Ebert wanted to be represented in full. He knew that there was something worth putting on the screen when he let James film the painful process of a nurse inserting his feeding tube into his throat each day, or the moments of exhausted frustration when he couldn’t summit a three-step staircase.” - Frances Dodds, DuJour
“For dyed-in-the-wool Ebert fans—those weaned on his thoughtful populism and impassioned advocacy—the august-years footage may be no more affecting than the carefully selected samples of his work, such as an eloquent (and thematically relevant) excerpt from his ‘Tree of Life’ review. Therein lies the happy ending of Ebert’s movie, the uplifting denouement of his third act: The man lives through his words, writ large across the web and accessible at the click of a mouse.” - A.A. Dowd, The A.V. Club
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...