Jenn Rohm Reviews "Puzzle"
Based on an Argentinian film called “Rompecabezas,” “Puzzle” is the adaptation for the American screen by Polly Mann and Oren Moverman. Directed by Marc Turtletaub, this is the story of Agnes (Kelly MacDonald), a selfless suburban housewife who is underappreciated by her family and feels trapped in a mundane routine that feels as if it is an earlier time. When she discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles, it offers her new opportunities that leads to a journey of self-discovery.
Turtletaub did an amazing job working with his cast to truly capture the essence of the story to the audience. In one scene in particular, Agnes is talking to one of her sons, Ziggy (Bubba Weiler), at the family auto shop, and the cuts between them really shows the emotions that both actors are putting into their performances for a true depth of what they are going through. MacDonald continues to show the breadth of her talent, as Agnes evolves from the shy, insecure people-pleaser type of woman to who she becomes, taking me to places I have not seen her do before in a role that is very different for her. This is furthered by the great work of cinematographer Chris Norr, who really shines in a scene where Agnes is looking out the window of a train that formed a lasting image in my mind. David Denman as her husband, Louie, helps build the character even deeper as the devoted but caveman-type of man who owns the auto shop, and Austin Abrams as their other son, Gabe, and Irrfan Khan as her puzzle partner flesh out this story very well.
Some people who attended the same screening as I did mentioned how they thought there were moments during “Puzzle” that dragged on, and while I see where they were coming from, I also understood the reason for it being this way. The slow pace reflects the world that is happening around Agnes in order for the audience to truly understand what she is going through, adding to the immersion I felt into the story itself. While this is not seen as a traditional summer movie, it is still one that leaves a lasting impression and is worth the time.