Life is Beautiful (1997)

world war 2 movieBecause the more descriptive title “Joking Around in Concentration Camps” would have been a terrible idea.


There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who prefer captions over dubs, and my wife, Brooke.

And as a leading expert on foreign films — which I’m not — I can safely say this is the best non-English-speaking movie I’ve ever seen. So…yep.

Life is Beautiful is what some call a “tragicomedy.” It’s directed by and starring an Italian named Roberto Benigni, who won several Academy Awards for this movie. (You may remember his furniture frolicking that night at the Oscars.)

The film is based in part on Benigni’s own father’s experiences in a concentration camp, which he endured for three years. And Benigni’s real-life wife, Nicoletta Braschi, also plays his wife in this movie as well, so there’s another family connection.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: The only other tragicomedy I’ve ever seen was Wild Wild West (but that comedy was a different kind of tragedy).

life is beautiful fathers dayIf by some chance you haven’t seen Life is Beautiful, it’s about a father who convinces his little boy that the Holocaust is an elaborate game in order to spare him from recognizing the true horrors going on around him.

In truth, this last time was harder for me to watch because the little boy strongly resembles my own son. I can’t imagine watching either of my boys being forced to endure what Jewish families endured at the hands of the Nazis.

As fathers, we instinctively do all we can to protect our children and bring them happiness. True fathers put their families first. They help them see the beauty in life. They help them “win.”

And lest we forget, there was another Jew who also laid down His life for those He has spiritually begotten. It is Jesus Christ who exemplifies the qualities every good father should strive for. And it is His perfect life that gives all of us a reason to see our imperfect lives as beautiful.

“Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world…” — Doctrine & Covenants 50:41

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