November 12, 2020
The Actor plays a Holocaust survivor and creche worker who takes in a troubled Senegalese boy in this solid if sentimental drama
The Life Ahead review – Sophia Loren serves up some grandmother courage
At 86, Sophia Loren returns to the screen for the first time in 10 years in this sentimental tale for Netflix, directed by her son Edoardo Ponti. It’s adapted from the novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary, which was first filmed in 1977 as Madame Rosa with Simone Signoret in the title role.
In truth, the part Loren plays here is not so very different in spirit from the “mother courage” roles which made her a star in the 1960s, only now it’s a matter of grandmother-courage (the scene in which she is heartrendingly stretchered out of her apartment building by medics is a weird echo of the beginning of Vittorio de Sica’s Marriage Italian Style). There’s no doubt about it: Loren still has an imperious address to the camera. I spent much of this film wishing she were allowed to let rip with something more spirited, but it’s a heartfelt performance. Loren has an undiminished screen presence and it’s great to see her with a substantial role.
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