The Life Ahead
2020 | Drama | 95 minutes | Italian with English subtitles
Madame Rosa is a former prostitute and Holocaust survivor. In her old age, feeble and sickly, she makes a living caring for children of prostitutes, some of whom were abandoned. Madame Rosa is a strict caretaker but has a genuine fondness for the children living in her apartment. Momo, a 12-year old Senegalese refugee, tries to steal her purse. But Dr. Cohen, the neighborhood doctor, offers Madame Rosa a monthly stipend if she would care for Momo. She needs the money so she accepts the responsibility knowing this kid will be a handful. Momo is not only a handful but he’s very successful selling drugs. Momo gets a break when Mr. Hamil, a compassionate Muslim storekeeper, gives him a job and teaches him about literature and the virtues of honest labor. As Madame Rosa and Momo draw closer, her health deteriorates. She asks Momo not to hospitalize her. She remembers what happened in hospitals during the Holocaust.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 94%
- Metacritic Score: 96
- An incredible accolade is that Sophia Loren was 86-years-old when she made this film.
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THE LIFE AHEAD is a beautifully shot and heartwarming film, and the 86-year-old Sophia Loren is magnificent and regal and fierce and funny and screen-commanding throughout.
Slipping into the flavorful Neapolitan accent of her early years, LOREN creates a warm-blooded, grounded character, whose feistiness ebbs slowly as the ravages of age, ill health and painful memory take hold. It’s a lovely performance, full of pathos, from an esteemed actress whose wealth of experience illuminates this touching and human drama.
Sophia Loren inhabits the role of Madame Rosa as if it was written for her. Bringing to the table her lifetime of experience, talent, and sense of truth, she is alternately warm and cranky, imperious and funny, strong and fragile.
THE LIFE AHEAD shimmers with the light and color of coastal Italy, and rather than chronicle one strong woman’s tussle with despair, it hinges on several intertwining, sublime relationships that lift up troubled souls.
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