The Moviegoer's Masterpiece

Roger Ebert's grand and poignant memoir

Ethan Hill / Contour / Getty Images

"I was born inside the movie of my life." The first words of the autobiography Life Itself have the fanfare blast of a Dickens novel or any of the classic books that Roger Ebert would have studied if he'd gone into the University of Chicago English Ph.D. program. Instead, he decided to join the Chicago Sun-Times and became a film critic--the most famous of that motley fraternity--and eventually a TV star, with his Chicago Tribune counterpart Gene Siskel, on a show that ran for 23 years and was less a salon of cinema criticism than a sitcom about two guys who...

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