We define the notions of lower and upper semicontinuity for functions from a metric space to the extended real line. We prove that a function is both lower and upper semicontinuous if and only if it is continuous. We also give several equivalent characterizations of lower semicontinuity. In particular, we prove that a function is lower semicontinuous if and only if its epigraph is a closed set. Also, we introduce the notion of the lower semicontinuous hull of an arbitrary function and prove its basic properties.