At first glance, many theatrical and literary works appear to have a “bad ending” and leave the audience disillusioned. However, after contemplating the true art, the conclusion may give more aesthetic pleasure than any frivolous “happily ever after” ending. Although the spectator grieves when Guido dies at the end of “Life is Beautiful”, there is a deeper, joyous meaning to the finale. While in a Nazi concentration camp, surrounded by evil and death, Guido finds ways to communicate with his wife Dora and to convince his son that the imprisonment is an elaborate game, a special contest to win a tank. Guido uses his wit and his fertile imagination to help his son survive their internment. Guido maintains this story right until the end, when he saves his son by telling him to stay in a sweatbox until everybody has left so that he will be the winner of the tank. When Guido knows he will be shot by a Nazi guard, he makes his son laugh one last time by imitating the Nazi guard. Although Guido’s death is sad, the rejoining of Joshua with his mother is uplifting; it is clear that Guido’s amazing spirit will live on in his son. This is a movie you will never forget.
Life is Beautiful
August 21, 2008