Puzzle — Film Review


Directed by Marc Turtletaub


A broom is drearily sweeping,

up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life

                                    — Jimi Hendrix


It started with a broken plate that her husband carelessly shattered at her birthday party.  She gathered up the broken pieces and with some glue reassembled the beautiful porcelain plate.  However, there was a piece missing.  Eventually that missing piece would hurt her.  Someone gave her an i-phone for her birthday, but she said she didn’t need it.  I liked her from that moment.  Someone else gave her a jigsaw puzzle.  A few days later she opened it and assembled it.  Something clicked.  Taking all of these disorganized pieces and fitting them together into a beautiful image resonated.  So she started making train trips to New York to a store that sold jigsaw puzzles.  (If she had used that i-phone she could have just ordered them online and had them sent to her house.  Then there would be no movie.)  At the puzzle store she saw a flyer that someone posted who was looking for a puzzle partner.  She responded and a relationship started.  He wanted a doubles partner to enter a competition.  She agreed to the project.

So the relationship takes place against the background of her problematic marriage and juggling responsibilities of taking care of her family.  It is a very domestic, human interest film.  There is a love affair, if you want to call it that, but without much energy and passion.  The film is rather milquetoast,  but it is well made and holds one’s interest.  There is a lot going on, but the center of gravity is the developing relationship between Agnes and Robert.  I didn’t care for the ending.  It seems to nullify what the film spent a lot of time developing.  I won’t go into any more discussion than that.

The characters, although not drawn in great depth, are passable.  Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) is the strongest and most convincing.  There are a lot of men in the film.  The men are moderately well depicted.  Robert (Irrfan Khan) is interesting, but he could have been filled out a little better.  We don’t see him in much depth.  Generally, I think this film could be very popular.  It is an engaging human interest story, that is very well crafted and rather conservative.  I can’t imagine anyone being offended by this.  People will respond to its warmth, it’s low key domestic drama, the sanitized relationship between Agnes and Robert, and its ultimate confirmation of traditional values.