In this sentimental, tragicomic drama, Matteo Scuro (Marcello Mastroianni) is an old widower living in Sicily. His five grown children have scattered all over Italy, and he has heard nothing but glowing reports from them about their lives and careers. One day he takes it into his head to visit these paragons who have fulfilled every one of his ambitions for them. Eventually he discovers that all his children have been lying to him for a very long time because they were afraid to disappoint their papa; their lives are shabby and very much on the edge, and one of them has long-since committed suicide (unbeknownst to him). This daunting truth provokes a heart attack in the old man, who still has a few lies yet to tell and hear, because he insists (as do his children) that everything is fine. ~ Clarke Fountain, All Movie Guide
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