By Leonardo Cervantes
Netflix’s “The Life Ahead” is an Italian-produced emotional rollercoaster on the misfortunes of a poor kid and the adversity he phases at a young age.
Sophia Loren is a well-renowned actress who stars in the film as Madame Rosa. Her youngest son Edoardo Ponti is the director and co-writer of the film. The film centers around Momo, a troubled adolescent, and Madame Rosa who is a strict and high-tempered nanny.
The film is emotional and Ponti is able to capture this brilliantly by focusing on the actors facial expressions during moving scenes. Although Momo is young he plays his delinquent role well and captures the audience’s attention by constantly making wit remarks at adults or always arguing.
Madame Rosa has a parental role in the film and played her strict role well by constantly berating Momo.
The film is emotional and is rated PG-13 as it contains some graphic content.
The film follows Mohamed (Ibrahima Gueye), who likes to be referred to as Momo, a 12-year-old Senegalese refugee. Momo is placed under Dr. Coen’s (Renato Carpentieri) supervision at a young age by social services. Dr. Coen is a well-respected man across the neighborhood that looks after kids, therefore, he had the task of caring for Momo.
Momo is disobedient to every adult figure in his life and appears to be mad at the world. He takes out his rage on kids and his legal guardians because he is deeply hurt inside.
If he continues down this path of rebellion it will lead to his demise. He goes to open markets and steals items in order to trade them for money.
Momo lacks a true mother figure and as an act of rebellion does whatever he wants at a young age. Momo feels like he has nobody to talk to or relate to so drugs are his escape from the world.
Eventually, Madame Rosa is able to connect with him and has him doing chores and socializing with the other kids at her house.
Although the plot is basic what sets the film apart is how genuine it feels. Momo is a young teenager and Madame Rosa is in her late 80s, yet it feels like a relatable relationship the audience has likely had with family members.
A young rebellious kid that defies authority but finally takes advice from an older relative and begins to change. The film could have improved on showing more of the cast of kids that Madame Rosa was taking care of. Diego Pirvu is the only kid that is in multiple scenes yet he only serves the role of Momo’s friend.
Madame Rosa played her role of parent figure well as she often instilled wisdom into Momo. She was strict and demanding of Momo but she did so out of kindness and love she had for him.
She is an educated adult who wants all of the kids to learn and prosper. Madame Rosa is an ex-prostitute and a holocaust survivor. This is one of the reasons she and Momo begin bonding.
The world has done both of them wrong so they are able to understand each other’s pain even if they are completely different forms of pain.
Once Momo learns about Madame Rosa’s past, he is able to understand and begins to accept her as a mother figure.
She still has disagreements with Momo and he shouts at her, but they are few and far between compared to the arguments they had when they first met.
Ponti succeeded in presenting Momo as a sympathetic figure searching for meaning in life and Madame Rosa as his much needed counselor.