Life Itself

Synopsis: 'Life Itself' recounts the surprising and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert - a story that's by turns personal, wistful, funny, painful, and transcendent. The film explores the impact and legacy of Roger Ebert's life: from his Pulitzer Prize-winning film criticism and his nearly quarter-century run with Gene Siskel on their review show, to becoming one of the country's most influential cultural voices, and finally to Roger's inspiring battles with cancer and the resulting physical disability - how he literally and symbolically put a new face on the disease and continued to be a cultural force despite it.
Director(s): Steve James
Production: Magnolia Pictures
  25 wins & 31 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
120 min

We all are born

with a certain package.

We are who we are.

Where we were born,

who we were born as,

how we were raised.

We're kind of

stuck inside that person...

...and the purpose of

civilization and growth,

is to be able to reach out

and empathize a little bit

with other people.

And for me, the movies are like

a machine that generates empathy.

It lets you understand

a little bit more

about different hopes,

aspirations, dreams and fears.

It helps us

to identify with the people

who are sharing

this journey with us.

Exactly five months

before his death,

Roger and Chaz and I

met to plan

the beginning of an ambitious

schedule of filming,

including interviews

and critic screenings.

Roger mentioned in passing

that his hip was sore.

The very next day

he entered the hospital.

So now I got a

hairline fracture to the femur bone.

I didn't fall and have no idea

how it happened.

It's bloody painful.

This is my seventh time at rehab.

This table is weird.

I type much, much better

at home in my usual chair.

Show Steve the new chair.

It reclines.

He will see more of it.

So Roger, did you not pay

your insurance premiums,

and so you didn't get

the chair till now?

Steve, I'll do the jokes here.

This is Flora.

Also, this is Sonya Evans,

my stepdaughter.

I do what they tell me to do.

You wanna rest a little bit,

or work a little bit?

Steve is the director.

I'm just gonna sit down.

Although Roger had supported

my films over the years,

this film was the first chance

to really get to know him.

Steve, shoot yourself

in the mirror.

There he is.

Hi, Carol.

I'm Carol.

I'm Roger's assistant

for over 20 years,

Roger and Chaz.

And Zero Dark something

is winning all the awards, Roger.

It won another big award.

And the Bears lost.

"My daily..." What?


Okay, Roger.

And then Mayor Daley's,

you know, nephew

went to court today.

Remember, for the Koschman thing

that the Sun-Times

really uncovered...

I always worked

on newspapers.

There was a persistent need,

not only to write,

but to publish.

In grade school, I wrote and

published the Washington Street News,

which I solemnly delivered

to neighbors in Urbana, Illinois,

as if it existed independently of me.

At the News Gazette,

a line-o-type operator

set my by-line in lead:

"By Roger Ebert."

I was electrified.

When I went home with it,

you could take a stamp pad,

you could put your by-line

on everything.

My parents finally

had to take it away from me.

Everything was by Roger Ebert.

And I went to work full-time

for the local newspaper

when I was 15,

first as a sports writer,

general assignment,

working late,

being there with the newspapermen

back in the '50s.

It was unspeakably romantic.

I can write,

I just always could.

On the other hand,

I flunked French five times.

In the spring of 1960, I announced

I wanted to go to Harvard,

like Jack Kennedy

and Thomas Wolfe.

"Boy, there's no money to send

you to Harvard," Daddy said.

The Urbana Champaign campus

of the University of Illinois:

to provide knowledge

for a better tomorrow.

I would go

to my hometown university.

I wouldn't be

an electrician like my father.

He told me one day

his father said to him,

"Roger, there's professors

over there,

that's what you oughta do some day.

You wanna sit there

with a pipe,

and a cardigan sweater

with your feet up on the desk."

I think his father recognized

early on that Roger had a gift.

I joined The Daily Illini,

and I ran into him then.

During my years at Illinois,

I spent more time working on

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Dan Fogelman

Dan Fogelman is an American television producer and screenwriter whose screenplays include Tangled, as well as Crazy, Stupid, Love, and the Pixar film Cars. more…

All Dan Fogelman scripts | Dan Fogelman Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Life Itself" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 30 Jul 2021. <>.

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