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At its heart, Life Itself is a love story—and only partly in the traditional sense. Sure, the film delves into Roger Ebert’s sweet romance with his wife, Chaz, his “angel” (whom he married at 50 after being convinced he’d end up alone), but it also explores the famous film critic’s many other loves. Ebert’s passion for writing (he was a Pulitzer-winning film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years) was probably even greater than his passion for movies. And his heated but hilarious relationship with his professional partner, Gene Siskel, makes up a hefty chunk of the movie’s scope. But the film is at its most powerful when it hones in on his experience with the cancer that ultimately claimed his face, his speech, and his ability to eat. Yet, despite all this, Ebert reflects on his life with wit, candor, and an unflaggingly positive attitude. Watching Ebert’s graceful and strangely beautiful final months, weeks, and days was a heartbreaking privilege that gave me a much-needed reminder: Though professional success is a worthy goal, it’s not the most important one.