Old People, Still Here, God Love ’em

I confess: I’m among those who see obituaries on Facebook and news sites for famous people and think, “I thought s/he was already dead.”

I can look on AARP Magazine’s “Big5-Oh” page and see that a lot of old people are still here. In the current issue I learned that Mary J. Blige is 50, Julia-Louis Dreyfus is 60, Wayne Gretzky is 60, Phil Collins is 70, Joan Baez is 80, Faye Dunaway is 80, and James Earl Jones is 90.

I also learned that, at 86, Sophia Loren–the sexy heartthrob of my high school years–is starring as Madame Rosa in the Netflix movie “The Life Ahead.”

According to Wikipedia, “Madam Rosa is a former prostitute and Holocaust survivor. She provides childcare for the children of “working women.” After a 12-year old Senegalese street kid robs her, she reluctantly agrees to take him in. They develop a deep bond and she tries to help him find his way in life, as he learns she is both a Holocaust survivor and an ex-prostitute.”

Roger Ebert.com says, “Loren inhabits the role of Madame Rosa as if it was written for her. (You can see why Ponti wanted to remake it for her). Bringing to the table her lifetime of experience, talent, and sense of truth, Loren’s Madame Rosa is alternately warm and cranky, imperious and funny, strong and fragile. Madame Rosa has led a hard life, and it shows in her face, her actions, but she is still capable of acts of great generosity. Madame Rosa often goes into fugue states when the trauma of her past gets to be too much. She retreats from the everyday world. In those moments, Loren seems truly broken, staring into space, unreachable. When feeling comes up in her, it’s so sharp and immediate it seems to surprise even her.”  

Oh good, she’s still “got it.”

Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Fate’s Arrows,” available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.