Two Women

1960 | Drama | 100 minutes | Italian with English subtitles

Info

In war-torn Rome, 1943, Cesira, a widowed shopkeeper and her daughter Rosetta, flee Rome after an Allied bombing. They head for Cesira’s birthplace in the rural, mountainous province of Ciociara. Cesira’s friend, Giovanni, agrees to look after her store. In Ciociara, Cesira attracts the attention of Michele,  a local intellectual. Rosetta develops a close relationship with Michele, seeing him as a father figure.  After the Allies capture Rome in 1944, Cesira and her daughter decide to return home. Resting in a church along the way, Cesira and Rosetta are raped by Moroccan soldiers attached to the Allied army. Rosetta is traumatized and becomes detached from her mother. The two manage to find shelter in a neighboring village. Rosetta disappears during the night sending Cesira into a panic. Rosetta returns after spending a night with an older boy. Cesira is furious as she slaps and scolds Rosetta. The traumatized Rosetta is unresponsive and emotionally distant. When Cesira informs Rosetta that Michele was killed by the Germans, Rosetta breaks down and is bereft. It’s now up to Cesira to try and comfort a heartbroken and damaged Rosetta.

Cast
Sophia Loren (Cesira) / Eleonora Brown (Rosetta) / Raf Vallone (Giovanni) / Jean-Paul Belmondo (Michele)
Why Stream This Film?
Vittorio De Sica brilliantly directed a simple story about how war can devastate two decent, innocent women. And to De Sica’s credit, Sophia Loren became the first actor to win an Oscar in a foreign language film.   
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 88%
Accolades
  • Academy Awards: Winner, Best Actress (Sophia Loren
  • Canes International Film Festival: Winner, Best Actress (Sophia Loren)
  • The movie was among the 30 most popular in France.
Loren deservedly won an Oscar for her heart-rending portrayal of an Italian mother who, along with her young daughter, is raped by Allied Moroccan soldiers during World War II. How they survive is an intensely moving story.
Leonard Maltin

Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide

Miss Loren demonstrates herself as an actress and under the direction of Vittorio De Sica, takes a firm place in a simple, honest film. The beauty of Miss Loren’s performance is in her illumination of a passionate mother role. She is happy, expansive, lusty in the early phases of the film, In tune with the gusto of the peasants, gentle with her child. But when disaster strikes, she is grave and profound. When she weeps for the innocence of her daughter, one quietly weeps for her. Signor De Sica’s direction has the qualities of fullness and momentum that are familiar and so compelling in his films.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

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