Putting It Together (Film Thoughts: Puzzle)

large_puzzleSometimes we get too complacent and comfortable in our lives we do not realize that parts of it are broken.  In Marc Turtletaub’s ‘Puzzle,’ Kelly MacDonald plays Agnes, a housewife whose sole responsibility is to take care of people until she realizes that she hasn’t taken care of herself. Sounds familiar? Yes, I have been in that situation, and all through my life, I have always been a caretaker so for sure I could relate with Agnes situation. Agnes’ only ‘outlet’ is putting together jigsaw puzzles, and when she discovers a puzzle partner, a whole world opens up to her, and she realizes that in order to put her family together, she needs to break them apart first in pieces so they could go back to places where they naturally fit. Sure, the metaphor is probably too obvious, but the emotions aren’t necessarily so. Kelly MacDonald breathes life into Agnes and it is special to see her as a character slowly finds herself, When she does, we are as fulfilled. Irrfan Khan as Robert, her puzzle partner, has great screen presence, and has effective slow-burn chemistry with her. I have to give special mention to Bubba Weiler whop plays Agnes’ son Ziggy. You cannot help but be able to notice him as the son trapped in an unfulfilling job, dreaming of something else he wants to do with his life. I do have one big problem with the plot: Agnes having an affair with Robert. I think that would have been very out of character for Agnes, and the film’s message would have been just as effectively conveyed without it. But for sure, this film works in a lot of levels even with its flaws. It speaks directly to our hearts, to our emotions, to our longings and wantings. The heart will always feel what it feels.