Best Movies by Farr
Two Women Poster
Released Runtime Category
1961 100 Drama, Foreign Language, War
Director Language
Vittorio de Sica Italian
Actors
Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Eleonora Brown

Two Women

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What's it About

Seeking a reprieve from Allied bombings of her Roman neighborhood, lovely widowed shopkeeper Cesira (Loren) and her teenage daughter Rosetta (Brown) trek through the countryside to Cesira's birth town, where locals curse the fascists and wait for war to end. Rosetta falls in love with handsome, leftist intellectual Michele (Belmondo), who dotes on Cesira and acts as protector to mother and daughter. When fleeing German soldiers arrive in the beleaguered town and force Michele to act as their guide, it sets in motion a tragic chain of events.

Why we love it

De Sica's collaboration with screenwriter Cesare Zavatinni ("Bicycle Thieves," "Umberto D") on this absorbing, humanistic story of survival and shattered innocence in war-ravaged 1943 Italy takes the peasant-eye's view of international conflict. Taking a role once intended for Anna Magnani, sex kitten Loren won a much-deserved Oscar for her soulful, hand-wringing performance as a mother trying to shield her devout daughter, memorably played by Brown, from the ugliness of a world in chaotic disrepair. Their scene together in a church filled with marauding Allied "liberators" remains one of the most harrowing of De Sica's career. (Note: currently none of the DVD editions has a reproduction standard worthy of the film; yet in this case the film itself is so strong, we're showcasing it anyway.)

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"