Movie “Life is Beautiful” Analysis

Rhetorical Analysis Movie “Life is Beautiful”

Life is Beautiful is an Italian movie directed by Roberto Benigni in 1997 (Kertzer 22). The movie combines the elements of tragedy, comedy, and drama, and reveals various aspects of peoples life. The protagonist of the film is a Jewish man, Guido Orefice, who owns a little bookshop in Italy. The film depicts his acquaintance with Dora, who later becomes his wife and a mother of his son Giosue. However, the happiness of their family does not last for a long time, since the Nazi regime occupies Italy and sends all Jewish people to the concentration camps. At one of the concentration camps, Guido is separated from Dora, but he still can communicate with his little son. As Giosue is scared and frightened, Guido decides to play with him, saying that everything around are elements of a game.

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If Giosue behaves according to the rules, he will win additional points and become a winner. However, crying, shouting or complaining will deprive him of all the winning points. The little boy believes his father and performs all the needed tasks without being afraid of the horrible surroundings, starvation, and death. A great power of Guidos conviction and support helps Giouse survive the horrors of the concentration camp and find liberation inaugurated by the US army. After leaving the camp, Giouse reunites with his mother Dora. However, Guido had to sacrifice himself for the sake of his family. Some days before the liberation, a German soldier caught him and sentenced to death penalty. The death of Guido shows the absurdity and uselessness of the Nazi regime and, at the same time, symbolizes the limitless parental love and support.

This paper analyzes the movie Life is Beautiful by focusing on the four criteria, namely the theme, character, musical score, and the antagonist. The film represents a variety of ideas and viewpoints while discovering the depth of the human soul. Correspondingly, it reveals many themes connected with interpersonal relations, political environment, horrors of the concentration camps, and the power of family bonds (Celli 74). At the same time, it is important to pay attention to the analysis of the protagonist Guido, since his personality and devotion reveal the never-ending optimism and love. When speaking about the antagonist in the film, it is essential to mention that he is not described as an individual character or a personality but rather as a destructive regime introduced by the Nazi government. Special attention should be paid to the issue of musical accompaniment as it greatly assists in the transition of mood and atmosphere in the movie. Thus, this paper is going to analyze the theme of the movie Life is Beautiful, discuss the personality of the main character, define the negative features and characteristics of the antagonist, and dwell on the importance of the musical score in the plot development.

Rhetorical Analysis of the Movie

The theme of the film is a prominent criterion that contributes to its logical, contextual, and visual accomplishment. These reasons explain the necessity of the theme analysis for the proper comprehension and understanding of the movie and its main ideas. The film presents many interrelated themes. Probably, the most significant theme is the issue of family relations and strengths. Life is Beautiful describes the enormous support, tenderness, and carefulness in the relations between the father and his son. Despite the horrors of the concentration camps, external threats, and the then political regime, the connection between a father and a child remains strong, doubtless, and limitless (Celli 75). The main character, Guido, struggles to reunite his family and protect them from all threats and dangers. This devotion and persistence help Guidos wife and son to survive and find each other after the liberation. In the movie, this theme finds its reflection in the scenes of communication between Guido and Giosue, Guidos searches for Dora, and the emotions of the main characters regarding each other. According to R. Benigni (1998), this theme helps to reveal many other significant problems and issues depicted in the movie. Particularly, it emphasizes on the destructive influences of the Nazi regime, absurdity of the concentration camps, devaluation of peoples lives under the conditions of war and oppressions, and the eternal power of peoples feelings and emotions. Therefore, this movie reflects on significant themes, which do not lose their topicality and importance even nowadays.

It is also important to analyze the personality of the main character. The protagonist Guido possesses many positive features and qualities that make him appealing to the viewers (Kertzer and Adrienne 22). Guido demonstrates high persistence, self-reliance, and confidence in everyday life. When he falls in love with Dora, he tries hard to win her attention and sympathy. In the long run, Dora refuses to marry her fianc? and agrees to marry Guido. Generally, Guido evokes positive attitude and emotions. The scenes at the concentration camp show that family relations and safety of his relatives are of paramount importance to him. He is ready to sacrifice his life in order to protect this son and wife from the terrors of the camp environment. From this point of view, Guido can be treated as a hero, since all his actions and ideas are aimed at the protection of the other people (Bullaro 225). Moreover, Guido possesses a good sense of humor. At the beginning of the film, viewers can observe numerous funny scenes and actions involving the protagonist. Additionally, Guidos interpretation of the concentration camp as a game also demonstrates his wit, smartness, and optimism. All these features create a complete image of the main character who deeply values peoples lives, emotions, and safety. Not surprisingly, Guidos character contributes to the success of the film and assists in discovering its main ideas, which claim the importance of optimism, happiness, and simplicity in every situation.

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The music score written for Life is Beautiful is another element of the movie worth paying attention. The matter is that soundtracks of the film strongly contribute to the comprehension of the depicted events and situations. The music highly assists in rendering characters emotions, feelings, and attitudes to the surroundings as well as creating special atmosphere and mood. It is possible to state that the film would not make such a deep effect if there was no appropriate musical accompaniment. Thus, musical score is another aspect of the movie explaining its unique sense and deep ideas. According to R. Benigni (1998), the soundtracks to this film written by Nicola Piovani won the Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score, and were nominated for victory in the category of the Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Thus, the mass appreciation of the musical score proves its importance in the development of the plot. In particular, it is possible to admit about the changes in the musical sounds, rhymes, and tones in the depiction of various scenes (Bullaro 179). The musical score for the film Life is Beautiful serves as a sufficient aspect of its form and content, which helps to ascertain the main subject and ideas as well as comprehend its mood and emotions.

Finally, it is essential to pay attention to the depiction of the antagonist. Often, the antagonist is viewed as an individual character, against whom the protagonist is fighting. In this case, there is no direct individual who could have been regarded as an antagonist. However, the film provides a strong emotional and expressive image of the destructive political regime of the Nazi, which neglects the value of human lives for the sake of abstract political ideology (Viano 26). The Nazi regime presents itself in massive oppressions, imprisonments, concentration camps, and murders of the civil population. As a result, it becomes obvious that the Nazi regime is the antagonist, whose impacts and effects should be tackled. Guido represents a type of a rival and rebel against the political absurdity and terrors of concentration camps. By the end of the film, it is possible to say that Guido reached his aim and managed to fulfill his mission. Even though he did not survive himself, his family managed to reunite and start a new life without the horrors of the war period. Such an ending claims the victory of justice, liberation, and human feelings, which cannot be destroyed by any policies or laws.


In conclusion, the film Life is Beautiful shows the story about the eternal love and power of human feelings, which do not weaken or disappear under the influence of wars, political oppressions, and violence. The film dwells on the strength of parental love, which is capable of overcoming any obstacles and protecting beloved people from horrors and threats. The film reveals a number of themes, which show a complicated system of human relations, feelings, and emotions displayed in different life situations. The effects of the film are amplified with the help of musical score, which skillfully reflects the emotions and mood of the characters. The movie also provides the complex image of the protagonist, a simple Jewish man, who struggles against the Nazi regime. Overall, due to its accomplished, skillful, and interesting plot and form, the film Life is Beautiful evokes different emotions and numerous questions to discuss.


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