As filming began at a Chicago-area hospital, Roger Ebert had long since lost the ability to speak (a 2006 operation left him without much of his jaw). But he was, regardless, a most willing participant in this emotional portrait of a life spent in cinema. This doc, made by fellow Chicagoan Steve James (whose earlier work was famously championed by Ebert), chronicles Ebert’s professional ascent from old-school newspaperman to the most famous and influential film critic of his time. Ebert’s early story, with passages taken directly from his 2011 best-selling memoir from which the film gets its title, is intercut with material shot at the hospital during the final four months of his life. It is these scenes, intimate and unflinching, that provide context for a life most wonderfully lived. A Magnolia Pictures release.
Sundance Film Festival, 2014
Cannes Film Festival, 2014
“Works both as a compact appreciation of the reviewer's vast public impact, as well as an unflinching peak into a cancer patient's final months” —Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
“Even those in journalism, the film business and elsewhere who knew Roger Ebert fairly well will learn a lot through James’ richly satisfying film” —Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
“Meticulous and intensely emotional” —Scott Foundas, Variety