What Would Sophia Loren Do? Netflix Documentary Review

★★★★ Stars

Directed by: #RossKauffman

Starring: #NancyKulik, #SophiaLoren, #EdoardoPonti

Film Review by: Alicia Moore

“An Italian-American grandmother and film buff finds strength and joy in the life of her screen idol, Sophia Loren.”

What Would Sophia Loren Do? isn’t like most documentaries I’ve seen, especially ones highlighting faces in cinema, due to its powerful turn in perspective. This short Netflix documentary film focuses on Nancy Kulik, a great admirer of Sophia Loren, and showcases how much of a positive impact she has had on her throughout life. Instead of centring the film on Loren’s many achievements over the years, the core of its content is how someone’s shining light can influence a spark in someone else’s — even from a great distance, and with a screen breaking contact between them. However, emotional contact can always transfer from eye to eye despite any distance, and the elements of this film can act as proof.

As an admirer of Sophia Loren myself, I felt that I was able to connect with the film’s content in a way I haven’t been able to experience before. Seeing a woman at 82 years old recount the times when she looked towards the star for guidance through her acting and how she carried herself as a person hugely resonated with me. Hearing Kulik speak to Loren, “it feels like we know each other,” was an unbelievably beautiful clarification of the strong bonds between audience members, actors and their characters that can be made if one puts their heart out in that way. Regardless if you are a fan of Sophia Loren or not, if you do hold your heart out into the world in this way, you will find yourself clutching onto your chest throughout the documentary because of how interrelated these emotions can be.

This film is gracefully carried by its editing (Keiko Deguchi, Hypatia Porter) as Kulik’s stories are intertwined with Loren’s input; whether that is through previous interviews filmed throughout her career or through filming specifically for the documentary. Each scene follows on from one another — even if they are talking about slightly different subjects, that still correlate, the editing process enhances the established friendship that they unintentionally created over the years. The editing allows the documentary to present itself as two powerful women who meet at the same level of personal courage, almost sharing these similar parts of each other. I hoped to capture how moving I found this film in these words but I think, purely, you must watch it for yourself to understand what feelings I’m attempting to convey.

What Would Sophia Loren Do? showcases Loren’s talents and personality through the view of those who adore her. It is a passionately warm tribute to the star; the documentary is simply a beaming, short ‘pick-me-up,’ especially in such dull times as of now. Everyone needs a hug filled with joy and tenderness once and a while, and Netflix has your back with this one.

Nancy Kulik and Sophia Loren.