The Real Puzzle Of “Puzzle”: what globe Does this Drama Take Place In? #Pazz_JopFebruary 12, 2019
In “Puzzle,” Kelly Macdonald (right) plays Agnes, a Connecticut housewife whose days revolve around her boys until she discovers a surprise talent — putting together jigsaw puzzles — and partners up with a pro (Irrfan Khan).Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics
A reminder that quiet and subtle are not the same things, Marc Turtletaub’s earnest, compassionate character study Puzzle — adapted from Argentine director Natalia Smirnoff’s superior Rompecabezas (2010) — is likely to charm and move audiences even as its particulars often fail to suggest the real world.
nobody wants to hear about.
The opening sequence, a piercing suite of routine drudgery, finds Agnes decking out the house she grew up in for a party.
She doesn’t even know that online shopping is a possibility .
Since it’s hard to buy the character, it’s hard to buy the story, no matter how good Macdonald is, no matter how pricklingly tense and tender her scenes are with David Denman, who plays the husband.
Puzzle , of course, turns on those puzzles.
A stranger is seeking a partner to participate in puzzle competitions.
She does, and soon both the film and her life perk up.
Those scenes are thankless, but Denman, and the rest of the cast, each invest the best moments with delicate power: A long, single-take scene of husband and wife brushing their teeth suggests a long shared history, and a romantic camping weekend is moving — even convincing.