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Is The Life Ahead based on a true story?

Everything you need to know about the inspiration for the new Netflix movie.

The Life Ahead

A new film arrives on Netflix this week starring silver screen legend Sophia Loren as Madame Rosa, an elderly Holocaust survivor who now runs a daycare business.


The Italian-language film follows events after she takes in a young immigrant from Senegal who recently robbed her, with the pair eventually forming a close bond.

Many viewers might wish to know about the inspiration for The Life Ahead – is it adapted from a real-life story? Read on for everything you need to know.

Is The Life Ahead based on a true story?

The film is not based on real-life events, instead taking its inspiration from French author Romain Gary’s 1975 novel The Life Before Us.

It’s not actually the first time the novel has been adapted either, it was previously made into a film titled Madame Rosa in 1987, while a TV adaptation was made in 2010 and a Broadway musical based on the novel had a brief run in 1987.

The 1987 film was particularly successful, winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars and also picking up a Best Actress award for star Simone Signoret at the Cesar Awards.

There are a few changes from the source novel in this adaptation, mainly the fact that the action has been moved from France to Italy, specifically the port city Bari, but other than this the film is largely faithful to Gary’s work.

The Life Ahead is available on Netflix from Friday 13th November 2020. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.


Head over to Amazon now to purchase your copy of The Life Before Us by Romain Gary.