Synopsis by Nathan Southern
At about the same time that she co-starred in Rob Marshall's glossy musical Nine, screen legend Sophia Loren took on this much more personal project, a miniseries made for Italian television. An autobiographical drama adapted from a book by Loren's sister, Anna Maria Scicolone, it begins with Loren's birth as the illegitimate daughter of Riccardo Scicolone and Romilda Villani (played here by then 75-year-old Loren), a sharp but calculating woman still reeling from the pain of a missed shot at movie stardom. Now facing single parenthood, Villani manages to rise above circumstances, but transfers her own broken dreams to the young Sophia, relocating to Rome and using the girl's delicate beauty to draw the attention of the film and modeling worlds. Soon, 14-year-old Sophia's fateful meeting with producer and future husband Carlo Ponti (at a beauty contest) leads to the young woman's enrollment in acting classes and a career-defining role in the movie Quo Vadis?. The movie follows the young Sophia (Margareth Made) as she travels down the path to superstardom, and intercuts this tale with the story of Sophia's sister Anna, who makes the mistake of marrying Benito Mussolini's philandering son and lives a despairing life in the village where she was born.