The Life Ahead: Netflix Film Review

The Life Ahead

She may have been off our screens for 10 years, but Sophia Loren has definitely still got it and she proves why she’s still a screen legend in Netflix’s moving tearjerker The Life Ahead.

In this Italian-language film, directed by Loren’s son Edoardo Ponti, the legendary Italian actress plays Madame Rosa, an ageing Holocaust survivor and retired prostitute who is now a foster mom of sorts to children of other sex workers. She agrees to look after Momo (Ibrahima Gueye), a 12-year-old Muslim orphan originally from Senegal, even though he recently stole from her on the street.

I wasn’t personally familiar with the story even though it has been told many times. It is fairly obvious where it is going when Madame Rosa starts getting ill, but it doesn’t make it any less moving or interesting to watch. It is still heartwarming watching her and Momo’s relationship evolve and them become a little family.

She may be 86 and have been away from our screens for about 10 years, but Loren certainly hasn’t gone rusty. She gives a commanding performance as Madame Rosa, who suffers no fools and has a sassy attitude, and convincingly portrays someone in the early stages of dementia (I assumed). She isn’t the only one who deserves attention though. Gueye does a fantastic job of transforming his character from a rebellious troublemaker and drug dealer to a caregiver, while I also liked Abril Zamora as Loren’s transgender neighbour Lola and Babak Karami as carpet salesman Mr Hamil, who takes Momo under his wing.

Usually, a tearjerker like this hits me right in the feelings but this one only moved me slightly and I was at no risk of tears and I’m not quite sure why that is. The Life Ahead may be a fairly conventional drama but it is worth a watch because of Loren and Gueye’s performances and their uplifting evolving relationship.

Streaming on Netflix from Friday 13th November

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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