Citizens of the World (Lontano lontano)

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Citizens of the World (Lontano lontano) Movie Poster Image
Foul-mouthed retirees light up this warm Italian dramedy.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 92 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The importance of companionship and conversation providing solace and comfort, particularly for people of an older age. The central characters remain curious about the world and also -- on occasion -- demonstrate compassion and empathy. The lack of financial support awarded to the elderly is examined, and scrutinized over.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The three men display compassion and assistance to a young Malian refugee who is as desperate for a new life as they appear to be. Through conversation we hear of family members who partake in illegal work, and one character takes fruit from a stall without paying. In one scene, refugees are seen running from the police after selling counterfeit goods.


Multiple uses of the word "f--k" as well as "s--t," along with "a--hole" and "piss." The characters swear frequently, though rarely aggressively.


When deliberating over where they wish to move to, the characters weigh up aspects of different nations based on the price of beer. There is a discussion about money not being the root of happiness, as characters analyze their own status and class in society. A character spends a lot of money on scratch cards.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The three lead roles drink consistently throughout the movie. From lager outside bars, to wine over dinner. They also do shots when meeting a friend. They drink in the daytime and in the evening. One character ends up walking home in an inebriated state. A character smokes a cigarette.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Citizens of the World (Lontano lontano) is a slow-burning Italian comedy-drama (with English subtitles) about three retirees who dream of a new life. The movie features little action, instead focusing on dialogue between the three friends. The movie promotes the importance of friendship and keeping in touch with those we hold dearest, and is enriched with the theme of nostalgia. The central trio of characters bemoan the lack of financial support they get in their benefits, and with this comes much swearing, including regular use of "f--k" and "s--t." However, the language is more nonchalant than aggressive. The characters drink -- socially -- throughout the movie, at any time of day. They also smoke and gamble. However, they also show compassion and empathy, especially when assisting a young Malian immigrant.

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What's the story?

CITIZENS OF THE WORLD tells the story of three men in their seventies who are fed up and in search of a new destination to live the rest of their lives. The thee men -- a professor (Gianni Di Gregorio), a retired laborer (Giogio Colangeli) and a dealer in second-hand goods (Ennio Fantastichini) -- decide on the Caribbean. But as the clock ticks towards their potential departure doubts begin to creep in.

Is it any good?

This is a really sweet, and tender comedy-drama, directed by Di Gregorio, who also plays the lead role, Il Professore, a professor who seeks paradise. There's a typically melancholic, conversational wit to the movie, true of the filmmaker's work, who has been labeled an Italian Larry David. Judging by this movie, it's a fair comparison. Il Professore always seems bemused, a laconic figure who represents the viewer in this gentle piece of cinema that thrives on its dialogue.

Mostly set in picturesque Roman cafes, the three leads sit outside; grumpy and fed-up, yet holding onto a dream of moving to a new country. It's hard to fathom why, since the Italian capital has been shot so beautifully, capturing a real sense of the vibrancy of Rome. But ultimately Citizens of the World is a movie enriched with nostalgia, with the characters getting a kick out of planning their escape. Yet question marks remain as to whether the trio even want to go at all, with most of the fun ultimately had in their conversations.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how friendship is depicted in Citizens of the World. How is the friendship between the three leads essential to the story? What is the secret to a long-lasting friendship?

  • Discuss the language used in the movie. Does it seem necessary or excessive? What does it contribute to the movie?

  • How is drinking depicted in the movie? Do you think the characters drink too much? Does their behavior seem realistic/believable? Are there consequences for what they do?

  • The characters help a young refugee in the movie. What factors can lead to someone becoming a refugee? How can we help those less fortunate than ourselves?

  • Discuss the idea of moving to a new country to start a new life. Do you think the characters in the movie really wanted to leave Italy? What are your dreams and how would your life change if they came true?

Movie details

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