The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Films

Life is Beautiful (La Vita e Bella) (PG)

Roberto Benigni directs and stars in this tragicomic fable about an Italian Jew who tries to shield his boy from the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp by pretending that the brutal regime is an elaborate game.

Shakespeare in Love (15)

This enjoyable romp suggests how romance fired Shakespeare with the creative inspiration for Romeo and Juliet. Joseph Fiennes and Gwyneth Paltrow (above) head a multi-star cast.

Living Out Loud (15)

Holly Hunter plays a Manhattan woman who, left by her husband, befriends the elevator operator in her building. Writer Richard LaGravenese handles everything with affectionate restraint.

A Bug's Life (U)

More child-friendly than Antz, this animated feature spins another enjoyable yarn about an ant colony and its battle to survive. Kevin Spacey provides the voice of the chief grasshopper.

The Opposite of Sex (18)

Christina Ricci plays 16-year-old bitch-on-wheels Dedee, who causes all kinds of havoc when she moves in with her half-brother (Martin Donovan).

Anthony Quinn