Questions for Life is Beautiful 1. Do you think that there are circumstances that are so horrible that the sanest thing to do is to deny reality? 2. Can fantasy make terrible truths bearable? 3. Are there harmless lies? 4. Are there harmful truths? 5. Is fantasy especially necessary for children? 6. Is it healthy (sometimes, always) to interpret reality in a way that makes you feel good? 7. Would you rather live a happy lie than face a miserable truth? 8. Is it morally wrong to lie to yourself? 9. Is it morally wrong to lie to others to make them happy? 10. Are the occasional benefits of being deceived necessarily short-lived? (i.e. the truth will out, and the sooner we face it the better off we will be) 11. Is truth a value in and of itself, i.e. an intrinsic good? Or does truth have only an instrumental value, i.e. it is good insomuch as it leads us to success in predicting and interacting with the world, which is good insomuch as it makes us happy or fulfilled or satisfied? 12. Is it true that two people can undergo exactly the same experience objectively and yet experience it very differently subjectively because the different ways they interpret the facts? 13. Does Guido believe that he can make things happen just by wishing for them and concentrating? If so, does this belief make him feel more in control of his life and his fate? 14. Do you think that Joshua could have survived psychologically intact (i.e. sane) if his father hadn’t told him so many sweet lies? 15. Is Joshua’s understanding of his world coherent? If so, can this view stay coherent over time? 16. Joshua obviously had to be protected as much as possible in this case since the truth of his situation was unthinkably horrible, but do you think that children living safe and comfortable lives should be protected from knowing that there is a great deal of evil in the world? 17. Joshua survives in part because he wouldn’t take a shower. Is it good to teach children not to be too obedient? 18. What kind of story do you think the German doctor tells himself to make his life seem bearable and his actions seem excusable? 19. Do you think that the Germans had to believe that the Jews were less than human in order to treat them the way they did? 20. If the German soldiers were just following orders, were they guilty of mass murder? Were they evil? 21. Why is this movie called “Life is Beautiful”?