Roger Ebert was never afraid of being honest. The influential critic heaped praise on movies and directors that delighted him, regardless of what his peers thought, and was never slow to excoriate something he thought insulted his or his readers’ intelligence—going so far as to publish a collection of his most amusingly vitriolic reviews, Your Movie Sucks, in 2007.
As reviewed by The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd, the recent adaptation of Ebert’s memoir, Life Itself, doesn’t shy away from the critic’s more cantankerous side. But as pointed out on Ultra Culture, it does look like the marketing department responsible for promoting the film decided to soften that image a bit.
Here’s the poster for Life Itself, along with a promotional still taken with co-star Gene Siskel for their show At The Movies, which the poster image was clearly taken from.
Besides the obvious differences between the two photos, there’s a more subtle one that’s only really visible when the two are viewed side-by-side (or, even better, in animated GIF form):
It looks like real-life Ebert was just a tad too grumpy for Life Itself’s inspirational marketing. It’s a tiny change—albeit one Ebert himself almost certainly would have mocked—but it is amusing to see that not even aging film critics are immune from Hollywood’s love of fixing reality with Photoshop.