The viewer has no chance to prepare for the emotional turmoil from the very beginning — amidst the dancing at a children's party between Aldo and Wanda, the tension is already palpable. As it turns out afterwards, the husband has cheated on his wife, and in good faith has decided to confess to it. He did it without thinking about how his wife would react but hoping that she would understand. But something happens. We don't know what mysterious promise lovers have made to each other, but they stay together because of it. Despite the affair, the children's resentment and the broken trust.
Lacci is truly national. Perhaps no one other than the Italians can so sensitively and humanely convey the relationship between people whose love will continue but will never be the same.
One of the elements of traditional Italian theatre is lazzi – improvised comic scenes that do not affect the development of the plot. Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and other classics of silent comedy used them. But Lacci is not a comedy at all. It's a drawn-out drama, based on a genuinely comic adultery scene which, as we later learn, has no bearing on the further course of events. The characters cannot divorce: too many strings bind them together and force them to see each other constantly, to communicate, to be near each other even when love is no longer there.
The main "family knot", which prevents the couple from separating once and for all, is the children. They grow up watching all their quarrels and attempts to find a compromise in upbringing. The constant fights between mum and dad and between Naples and Rome naturally affect children's psyche, each of whom strives to choose their side in the adult conflict.