A successful psychiatrist in northern Italy, middle-aged Giovanni (Moretti) is happily married to bookish beauty Paola (Morante). He enjoys his life and its routines, and is especially proud of the close relationship he has with his teenage children, Irene (Trinca) and son Andrea (Sanfelice). So when he learns that Andrea has drowned on a scuba-diving trip, Giovanni is thrown into a tailspin of despair and self-recrimination.
Known as a comedian, the immensely talented actor-director Nanni Moretti here shows a keen talent for drama, giving us a devastating portrait of how a father's grief creates turbulence and torment in an upper-middle-class family. Wracked with guilt and unable to continue his professional work, Giovanni eventually attempts to recover from tragedy, helped by the unexpected arrival of a stranger with a connection to Andrea. This moving melodrama covers similar terrain as Todd Field's "In the Bedroom," but Moretti offers a more soulful take on healing.