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Life Ahead, The


Stars: Sophia Loren, Ibrahima Gueye

Director: Edoardo Ponti

A remake of the award-winning 1977 film Madame Rosa, but now with an 86-year-old Loren in the part created by Simone Signoret, and directed by Loren's real-life son.

Rosa is an aged ex-hooker, now living in an Italian coastal town and taking in the children of other (working) prostitutes who, temporarily or permanently, cannot look after them.

Latest arrival is Momo, a 12-year-old Senegalese kid with attitude. A street thief - Rosa's first glimpse of him is when he steals her bag - Momo is soon in cahoots with the local drug dealer and earning enough money to buy himself a phone and even a bike.

At first defiant, his relationship with Rosa gradually and inevitably mellows; the boy also has a talent for drawing (a bit of a cliche, this) and sketches the lioness with whom he's obsessed and who he 'sees' as an imaginary friend.

It's lovely to see Loren again, even at this age, and the kid is terrific. But, alas, the film just isn't that interesting. Nothing very much happens, and Rosa's decline towards the end is highly predictable, as is the final reconciliation with her errant boarder.

David Quinlan

Italy 2020. UK Distributor: Netflix. Colour.
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 18 Jan 2021