With sex and death, the two staples of literature, hulking mostly in the background, Caos Calmo deals mainly with parenting, by a single father no less, and the ties that connect concerned parents and their children. The result is a nuanced, always interesting film about human interactions in the semi-sane modern world. I mean it as a compliment when I say it is the sort of movie Jane Austen might have scripted had she survived to the ripe old age of 233. The film happens to be set in present-day Italy so there is a bit of local color for Italophiles, but it could have been set in any modern Western nation. Pietro, a successful businessman, confronts the sudden death of his wife as he seeks to ease the transition for his now motherless ten-year-old daughter. Apparently to show her he is fully there for her, he abandons his office and waits for his daughter in the piazza outside her school each school day. Tutto il mondo comes to that piazza -- gossiping mothers, a developmentally challenged boy, Pietro's hot sister-in-law on the verge of a nervous breakdown, his secretary with papers to sign, his colleagues from the office stewing over the progress of merger negotiations and what it means to them, a young beauty with a big dog who needs a hug (the beauty, I mean), even Roman Polanski in a cameo appearance. Over the course of the picture Pietro convincingly works through his feelings about marriage, loss, grief, friendship, family, and desire. The emotional center of Caos Calmo is like a toned down, more serious sitcom, like Seinfeld on downers. As in life, there are small mysteries unsolved, but no scene -- surely not the much-discussed nighttime scene that serves to affirm life -- is out of place. The film works. Enjoy it.