The Life Ahead centres around two people: Madame Rosa (Sophia Loren) – a former ‘lady of the night’, who’s long into her retirement, and who looks after children who are either orphaned or not with their parent(s) for some reason; and Mohamed, shortened to Momo (Ibrahima Gueye), a child with a bad upbringing who thinks it’s okay to steal from anyone because he’s been brought up in care. Their paths cross when he steals some expensive candlesticks from her which she’s carrying in the market.
Until now, Momo’s been staying with Dr Coen as his guardian, but in return for bringing back the candlesticks, the doctor wants Rosa to take him in for a month or so, until they can find a new home for him, because he needs a female figure, who’ll command respect – and you certainly wouldn’t mess with Ms Loren!
So, it’s a mismatch drama, and as I started, I figured that by the end of it, despite being at loggerheards, they’ll learn to live with each other whilst also finding times when they can help each other, and that it would be more about the journey than the destination – and I wasn’t too far off.
In addition to the basic story, Rosa is a holocaust survivor – leading to one boy staying with her, Iosif, thinking the code on her arm makes her a ‘secret agent’, while Momo couriers drugs for a rather nefarious individual; and also adds in her best friend, Lola (Abril Zamora), a transgender woman who was once a former male boxing champion, and rug repairer Hamil (Babak Karimi), who tries to help Momo learn some discipline in repairing said rugs.
In addition, there’s a soundtrack from Betty Blue‘s Gabriel Yared, but while it has its moments late on, there’s nothing that lingered in the mind.
The Life Ahead promises a strong storyline, in bringing the Holocaust into it, but it doesn’t delve into that side of things too deeply, leaving this film as more a curiosity, but instead of an engaging story, it feels more like a “Let’s make one last film for a legend in the lead role”, similar to Harry Dean Stanton’s Lucky.
The Life Ahead is on Netflix from tomorrow, Friday November 13th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. However, you can buy the paperback book.
Check out the trailer below:
Running time: 94 minutes
Release date: November 13th 2020
Format: 2.39:1 (Dolby Vision)
Director: Edoardo Ponti
Producers: Carlo Degli Esposti, Regina K Scully, Nicola Serra, Lynda Weinman
Screenplay: Ugo Chiti, Fabio Natale, Edoardo Ponti
Novel: Romain Gary
Music: Gabriel Yared
Madame Rosa: Sophia Loren
Mono: Ibrahima Gueye
Dr Coen: Renato Carpentieri
Iosif: Iosif Diego Pirvu
Ruspa: Massimiliano Rossi
Lola: Abril Zamora
Hamil: Babak Karimi
Carabiniere: Francesco Cassano
Nala: Malich Cisse
Donna Ospedale: Vittoria Loiacono
Musicista: Cesare Pastanella
Iosif’s mother: Costanta Fana Pirvu
Rabbi: Rav Mario Sonnino
Babu: Simone Surico
Molinari: Nicola Valenzano
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.