Sophia Loren transformed from glam star to great actor in Vittorio De Sica’s ‘Two Women’

Posted on November 15, 2020


You could say the reason glamorous stars de-glam themselves is because, otherwise, nobody takes them seriously. It’s only when Sophia Loren plays a working mother that we sit up and say, “Oh wow, what a performance!”

It’s Rome. It’s World War II. The film is Vittorio De Sica’s Two Women. Cesira (Sophia Loren) runs a shop, which she wants to leave for a while because she wants to take her daughter Rosetta (Eleonora Brown) away from the air raids. Rosetta has a weak heart. Cesira is afraid she might have an attack. So she visits Giovanni (Raf Vallone), a neighbour who runs a coal store. She wants him to take care of her shop while she is away. He wants her. He says he’d do anything for her. Cesira says, “I know. You were a true friend to my husband.” It’s the first time we hear she’s a widow.

Giovanni says her husband was a stupid idiot. Cesira protests. Giovanni says, “Stop it! You were by his side day and night. But did you love him?” Cesira says, very simply, “I married him.” There’s a whole story in that small sentence. Cesira had a hard life, harder than the life she is leading now with Rosetta. She was eating once a day, sleeping with donkeys and chickens. Suddenly a man with money came along and said he would take her to Rome. She did what anyone would have done in her situation. She tells Giovanni, “I married Rome, not him.” It’s a poignant point about how war changes us.

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