Puzzle is an unvarnished and humane look at the missing pieces in one woman's life, built around Kelly Macdonald's exceptional central performance.
Based on a remake of Rompecabezas, a 2010 Argentine film by Natalia Smirnoff, the movie is a plaintive character study of a sheltered Connecticut housewife, who finds a new lease of life thanks to a 1,000-piece jigsaw.
Director Marc Turtletaub's (producer of Little Miss Sunshine, Loving) second feature conveys the complex inner life of Agnes (Kelly Macdonald), a suburban mum-of-two who has every reason to surrender to cynicism but does not.
A contrived meet-cute takes our leading lady to Manhattan to Robert (Irrfan Khan), a former inventor living off the profits of his magnet creation, who introduces her to the world of competitive puzzling.
There's much to appreciate in Puzzle, especially if you're a fan of unassuming indie movies, but the slow-burning script doesn't do a good enough job of determining why Agnes lies to her husband about her newfound hobby, while the chemistry with her new gaming pal is lacklustre.
The film's pulse comes in many ways from Macdonald's brave and beautiful work as Agnes. She lives and breathes her role and the more we watch her, the more beautiful her character becomes.
Puzzle is a modest piece of cinematic escapism but it falls short of becoming a game-changer.
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