Life Itself

2014 R 2h 0m Blu-ray / DVD

Life Itself

2014 R 2h 0m Blu-ray / DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Follow Roger Ebert from his school newspaper days to his status as America's premier film critic in this documentary drawn from his memoir. The film covers his rivalry with fellow critic Gene Siskel, his alcoholism and his personal philosophies.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1
English SDH, Spanish (Neutral), French
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen 1.78:1
English SDH, Spanish (Neutral), French
English: DTS-HD Master Audio
R - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. Contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their young children with them.
age 15+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 15+
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age 15+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Life Itself is a documentary by the director of Hoop Dreams that examines life of acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert, who died in 2013. It traces both his career -- both as a newspaper critic and on his popular TV show with Gene Siskel -- and his personal life, including his late-in-life marriage and the impact of the debilitating disease that robbed him of his ability to speak and eat but not think and write. Expect some brief swearing ("s--t," "f--k," etc.), a few quick nude/sex scenes in clips of old movies, and a good deal of talk about drinking and Ebert's eventual realization that he had an alcohol problem.

Sexual Content

A few sequences include clips from old films that show brief nudity and sex scenes. Some references to sex.


Some scenes show intense bickering between two very close friends.


Occasional swearing, including "s--t," "f--k," and "goddamn."

Social Behavior

Live life. That's how Roger Ebert approached every day, and this film reveals his immense appreciation for experiencing everything he could. That includes the positive (great films, great friends, new experiences) and the negative (mediocre movies, overindulging, and occasional bouts of bickering with people he loved).


The film frequently mentions the two Chicago newspapers where Siskel and Ebert worked, the Tribune and the Sun-Times, as well as their famous film-review TV show. Many movies, actors, and directors are mentioned by name. Ebert uses a Mac laptop toward the end of his life.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

For many years, Ebert spent almost every night holding court in a Chicago bar, and almost all of his friends have tales of his antics. Later, he realized he had a drinking problem and quit, and the same friends tell more stories about how he managed to get sober and how important it was for him to realize that he needed to stop drinking.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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