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Posts Tagged ‘John Turtletaub’

Kelly Macdonald

“PUZZLE” My rating: B

113 minutes |MPAA rating: R

The narrative arc of “Puzzle” is so familiar you can practically predict the plot from the first scene.

But this tale of a housewife’s liberation from her stifling life is so energized by three fine performances that you find yourself inexorably drawn into its world.

When we first encounter Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) she is busy catering to party guests in her modest suburban New York home.  She’s so concentrated on making sure everyone — especially her garage-owner husband Louie (David Denman) — is having a good time that it’s a shock when we realize the gathering is to celebrate her birthday. (Typically, the hard-working and under appreciated Agnes has baked her own cake.)

She’s captivated by one of her birthday presents– a jigsaw puzzle. One day she sets aside her chores and sits down to ponder this gift, and is gratified when she pieces together the puzzle in just a few minutes. This sets off a puzzle binge. Agnes gets so wrapped up in puzzling that on some days she forgets to cook an evening meal for Louie and her two grown live-at-home sons.

Her puzzle obsession takes her on a rare foray into NYC and a shop specializing in new and used jigsaw puzzles. There she sees a flier from a jigsaw  champion looking for a new partner with whom to enter jigsaw competitions.

This individual is Robert (Irrfan Khan), who earned a small fortune from an invention he patented years earlier. Now he spends his days wandering around his posh townhouse,  nursing the wound of his failed marriage (the wife, his jigsawing partner, has bailed).

Robert is stunned by Agnes’ natural affinity for visual problem solving — she’s some kind of puzzle savant. He asks her to be his competition partner. This will mean regular practice sessions in the city; Agnes lies to her family, telling them she’s seeing to an injured aunt. (more…)

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