A touching story of an Italian book seller of Jewish ancestry who lives in his own little fairy tale. His creative and happy life would come to an abrupt halt when his entire family is deported to a concentration camp during World War II. While locked up he tries to convince his son that the whole thing is just a game.
The first half of the screenplay is better than the second and in particular the weak ending which is very commercial Oscar material. However, there is Benigni, who is an old school visual comedian, and some of his antics are a delight. The period setting details are also well done.