Life in a Year
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Life in a Year

Life in a Year on paper, “The Life Ahead” sounds like sentimental mush — orphaned immigrant kid gets rescued from a tortuous Life in a Year life of crime by the maternal Holocaust survivor and former prostitute who takes him in. And make no mistake: Director Edoardo Ponti, who directs his mother Sophia Loren as said survivor opposite newcomer Ibrahima Gueye as the immigrant child in question, certainly has made that kind of movie. But with its formidable odd couple at the center and Ponti’s alternately slick and sensitive direction, “The Life Ahead” manages to make the case for its hackneyed setup in real time.

While “The Life Ahead” draws from the same Romain Gary novel that inspired the 1977 Oscar-winner “Madame Rosa,” Ponti and co-writer Ugo Chiti have transplanted the setting from France to inner-city Italy and set the drama in the present day. That means cinematic grand dame Loren, returning to the screen for the first time in a decade, can play a role that fits her 86-year-old visage, and she brings a sturdy, domineering quality to the part. Yet Gueye, as the 12-year-old drug dealer forced to live under the elderly woman’s care, ends up as the real centerpiece. “The Life Ahead” may give a screen icon room to shine, but it’s even more effective as a vessel of discovery.

Duration: 107 min

Release:

IMDb: 4.7