The Life Ahead

The Life Ahead (Italian: La vita davanti a sé) is a 2020 Italian drama film directed by Edoardo Ponti, from a screenplay by Ponti and Ugo Chiti. It is the third screen adaptation of the 1975 novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary. It stars Sophia Loren, Ibrahima Gueye and Abril Zamora, and is set in Bari, Italy.

The Life Ahead
The Life Ahead poster.webp
Official poster
Directed byEdoardo Ponti
Screenplay by
  • Edoardo Ponti
  • Ugo Chiti
Based on
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyAngus Hudson
Edited byJacopo Quadri
Music byGabriel Yared
Production
companies
  • Palomar
  • Impact Partners
  • Artemis Rising
  • Another Chance Productions
  • Foothills Productions
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • November 6, 2020 (2020-11-06) (United States)
  • November 13, 2020 (2020-11-13) (Italy)
Running time
95 minutes
CountryItaly
LanguageItalian

The film was preceded by Madame Rosa, a 1977 film based on the Gary novel, directed by Moshé Mizrahi and featuring Simone Signoret. Like the book, the first film version is set in Paris.[1]

The Life Ahead was given a limited release on November 6, 2020, followed by digital streaming on Netflix on November 13, 2020.

PlotEdit

Madam Rosa is a former prostitute and Jewish Holocaust survivor who provides a home in her apartment for the children of other "working women" in the port city of Bari, Apulia, Italy. After Momo, a 12-year-old, orphaned, Senegalese immigrant, robs her, Dr. Coen, the boy's foster father, who also happens to be Rosa's doctor, brings her stolen items back and makes the boy apologize. Coen offers Rosa money to take in the boy and look after him for a couple of months, and she reluctantly agrees.

Momo, who has been kicked out of school for stabbing a bully with a pencil, secretly sells drugs for a dealer in Bari, but Rosa also finds him work with Hamil, a kind Muslim shopkeeper. All of these adults try to guide the boy. Rosa's neighbor and friend Lola, a transgender prostitute, whose daughter Rosa looks after, helps Rosa as she begins to decline mentally. At times she is lucid while at others she is catatonic.

Rosa and Momo develop a deep bond, especially after he becomes her only ward. He quits selling drugs. Although her health is declining, Rosa asks Momo to promise to keep her out of the hospital. She is terrified of them, after being experimented on in the hospital at Auschwitz as a child. Momo agrees and promises, but Rosa is finally taken to the hospital after a particularly bad episode. Momo sneaks her out of the hospital at night and hides her in a basement storage room in her apartment building, where she feels safe. Momo stays there with Rosa, caring for her until she dies. Afterwards, Lola finally discovers their secret. The film ends with Rosa's funeral.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

In July 2019, it was announced that Sophia Loren, Ibrahaim Gueye, Abril Zamora, Renato Carpentieri and Babak Karimi had joined the cast of the film, with Edoardo Ponti directing from a screenplay he wrote alongside Ugo Chiti, based upon the novel The Life Before Us by Romain Gary.[2]

Principal photography began in July 2019 in Bari, Italy.[3]

ReleaseEdit

In February 2020, Netflix acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film.[4] It was released in a limited release on November 6, 2020, followed by digital streaming on Netflix on November 13, 2020.[5][6]

According to Deadline, The Life Ahead became a streaming hit, peaking within Netflix's top ten in 37 different countries.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

The Life Ahead holds a 92% approval rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 87 reviews, with a weighted average of 7.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "A classic example of how a talented actor can elevate somewhat standard material, The Life Ahead proves Sophia Loren's star power remains absolutely undimmed."[8] On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 66 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]

In a three-starred review for The Observer, Mark Kermode said of Sophia Loren: "The 86-year-old star’s expressive performance as a former sex worker caring for an orphaned child is the main draw in this sometimes formulaic tale directed by her son."[10] P.J. Grisar of The Forward was critical in his review, calling the film "treacly," "derivative," and "clichéd" when compared with the 1977 film Madame Rosa, its "nuanced and celebrated predecessor." He calls Loren's performance "sturdy" and Ponti’s direction "capable," but describes The Life Ahead as a "wan exercise, free of humor or verve."[11]

AccoladesEdit

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards April 25, 2021 Best Original Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren & Laura Pausini) Nominated [12]
AARP Movies for Grownups Awards April 25, 2021 Best Actress Sophia Loren Won [12]
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards January 4, 2021 Grand Dame Award For Defying Ageism Sophia Loren Won [12]
Black Reel Awards April 11, 2021 Outstanding Foreign Film Edoardo Ponti Nominated [13]
Capri Hollywood International Film Festival January 4, 2021
Best Actress Sophia Loren Won [14]
Best Original Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Won [14]
Best Adapted Screenplay Edoardo Ponti Won [14]
Critics' Choice Movie Awards March 07, 2021
Best Foreign Language Film The Life Ahead Nominated [15]
Best Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Nominated [15]
Best Young Performer Ibrahima Gueye Nominated [15]
David di Donatello May 11, 2021 Best Actress in a Leading Role Sophia Loren Won [16]
Best Original Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Nominated [16]
Georgia Film Critics Association Awards March 11, 2021 Best Original Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Nominated [17]
GLAAD Media Awards April 8, 2021 Outstanding Film – Limited Release The Life Ahead Nominated [18]
Golden Globe Awards February 28, 2021
Best Foreign Language Film The Life Ahead Nominated [19]
Best Original Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Won [19]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards January 27, 2021 Best Original Song in a Feature Film "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Won [20]
Best Music Supervision – Film Bonnie Greenberg Won [21]
Houston Film Critics Society Awards January 18, 2021 Best Original Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Nominated [22]
Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards April 16, 2021 Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Foreign Language Feature Maurizio Argentieri, Riccardo Righini and Mauro Eusepi Nominated [23]
NAACP Image Awards March 27, 2021 Outstanding International Motion Picture The Life Ahead Nominated [24]
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards January 11, 2021 Best International Film The Life Ahead Won [25]
Satellite Awards February 15, 2021
Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Sophia Loren Nominated [26]
Best Original Song "Io sì (Seen)" (Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi) Won [26]
Best Adapted Screenplay Edoardo Ponti Nominated [26]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (November 13, 2020). "The Life Ahead Brings Sofia Loren Back to the Screen in a Tearjerker That Fully Earns Its Tears". Time. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  2. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (July 10, 2019). "Sophia Loren Returning to the Screen in 'The Life Ahead' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  3. ^ De Marco, Camillo (August 7, 2019). "End of filming for Edoardo Ponti's The Life Ahead". CineEuropa. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  4. ^ Szalai, Georg (February 17, 2020). "Netflix Acquires 'The Life Ahead' With Sophia Loren". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  5. ^ Hammond, Pete (September 22, 2020). "Netflix Dates 'The Life Ahead' For November Worldwide Release; Film Legend Sophia Loren's First Movie In A Decade To Get Awards-Season Push". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  6. ^ D’Alessandro, Anthony (October 28, 2020). "'The Life Ahead' Review: Sophia Loren's Return To The Screen Is Nothing Less Than Triumphant". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 28, 2020.
  7. ^ https://deadline.com/2020/11/sophia-loren-life-ahead-netflix-top-ten-1234620218/#!
  8. ^ "The Life Ahead (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  9. ^ "The Life Ahead Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  10. ^ Kermode, Mark (November 15, 2020). "The Life Ahead review – Sophia Loren's commanding comeback". The Observer. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  11. ^ Grisar, P. J. (20 November 2020). "Nice to have you back, Sophia Loren; sorry about the movie". The Forward. Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Davis, Clayton (Jan 4, 2021). "'Nomadland' Triumphs at Alliance of Women Film Journalists Awards (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved Mar 31, 2021.
  13. ^ Fraley, Jason (February 18, 2021). "Regina King's 'One Night in Miami' leads Black Reel Awards with 15 nominations". WTOP-FM. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  14. ^ a b c Hammond, Pete (Jan 4, 2021). "'The Trial Of The Chicago 7' Tops Capri Hollywood Awards Including Best Picture; Sophia Loren, Anthony Hopkins Capture Acting Honors". Retrieved Mar 31, 2021.
  15. ^ a b c https://deadline.com/2021/02/mank-minari-lead-critics-choice-awards-film-nominations-chadwick-boseman-1234689332/#!
  16. ^ a b "David, Volevo Nascondermi al top con 15 candidature". Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata. March 26, 2021. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  17. ^ https://www.georgiafilmcritics.org/p/2020-awards.html/
  18. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (January 28, 2021). "GLAAD Unveils Nominees For 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards; Deadline's New Hollywood Podcast Honored With Special Recognition Award". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 28, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  19. ^ a b "Golden Globes". live-gg-2021.pantheonsite.io. Retrieved Mar 31, 2021.
  20. ^ "11th Annual HMMA Winners". Hollywood Music in Media Awards. January 27, 2021. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "11th Annual HMMA Winners". Hollywood Music in Media Awards. January 27, 2021. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  22. ^ Neglia, Matt (January 12, 2021). "The 2020 Houston Film Critics Society (HFCS) Nominations". Next Best Picture. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  23. ^ Pedersen, Erik (April 17, 2021). "'Trial Of The Chicago 7', 'Soul', 'Queen's Gambit' & 'Mandalorian' Lead Sound Editors' Golden Reel Awards – Winners List".
  24. ^ "2021 Nominees". NAACP Image Awards. Retrieved Mar 31, 2021.
  25. ^ "2020 San Diego Film Critics Society Award Winners". Jan 11, 2021. Retrieved Mar 31, 2021.
  26. ^ a b c "2020 Winners". Retrieved February 19, 2021.

External linksEdit