5/10 Nominated for Best Original Song for “Io Si (Seen)”, “The Life Ahead” isn’t normally the kind of movie I would have at the top of my Netflix queue but as I rushed to watch every single film nominated for an Academy Award before the Oscars, this made the list. The story of a Holocaust survivor who takes in a young, black orphan who robbed her and the connection that they build overtime. It is reminiscent of similar films when two people of a different race from two completely different worlds are thrust together and form an unlikely friendship such as “The Intouchables” or its American remake “The Upside”. The story isn’t very original and even feels a bit like Oscar bait, which hurts the overall quality. This is a remake of a 1977 film called “Madame Rosa” but I haven’t seen that to know how different this version is and if it warrants a remake at all. This is exhibit 9472 on Rotten Tomatoes of critics praising a mediocre movie, although I have a feeling that praise has more to do with the diversity/politics of the movie than the actual quality on display, which is common for Rotten Tomatoes critics. There are several aspects to admire in this movie, however. The acting is top notch and the young boy Momo played by Ibrahima Gueye was the highlight of the movie, made all the more impressive due to his young age. There are some emotionally strong moments featuring Momo and the movie even has a decent moral message in regards to his character. The heartfelt moments resonated and the ending was strong as well. As for that original song, which won Best Original Song at the Golden Globes, it is fantastic. After listening to all five song nominees back to back before the Oscars to decide which deserved the win, this song wasn’t the absolute best but still a strong contender and worthy of the nomination. The movie is directed by lead actress Sophia Loren’s son and although I haven’t seen his previous film to this or the other short films he directed, his direction here is fairly standard. Gets the job done but doesn’t impress in any significant way. The cinematography, editing and score were all mediocre, which matches the quality of the movie. A movie that your liberal mom or aunt will love, “The Life Ahead” isn’t far ahead of other similar movies in this familiar genre. Strong performances, moments that tug on your heartstrings and a great song can’t save this from a script that we’ve seen countless times before.

#StarringLolaByTheKinks / #GrumpierOldWomen / #SophiaForeignFilm / #ARosaBetweenTwoThorns / #CouldntAgreeMomo / #CourtesyHolocaustsNothing

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