Movie review by Ashok Kumar
Marc Turtletaub (of Little Miss Sunshine fame) directed Puzzle premiered in Australia at the Sydney Film Festival stars Kelly Macdonald as Agnes and Bollywood super star, Irrfan Khan (Lunch Box SFF2016) as Robert, David Denman as Louie and Austin Abrams is a story about a housewife with two grown up kids discovers her talent for solving jigsaw puzzles and which draws her closer to new world. She gets in touch with Robert (Irrfan), a champion, who was looking for a partner to play at a Puzzle championship and both discover that they are made for each other. They fall in love and chart a new life.
Agnes is very straightforward and admits to having sex with her puzzle friend to her husband, Louie (David Denman). On a similar theme, Puzzle finds a parallel in Bollywood’s 1966 film ‘Guide’ where a neglected married dancer finds love in a tourist guide, after her husband shows no interest in her and later start living together. In Puzzle too , Louie shows least interest in puzzle playing and Agnes finds her voice after getting close to her new love interest, a Puzzle champion.
While ‘Guide’ is full of songs and dances, Puzzle revolves around just one song ‘Ave Maria’. Puzzle is a remake of 2010 Argentine of the same name, while Guide is based on R.K Narayan’s novel
Agnes in her late forties is first introduced as she prepares meticulously for a birthday party in her home, a modest row house that hasn’t been decorated since the 1970s, when it belonged to Agnes’ parents. She vacuums, straightens knickknacks and bakes a cake, then serves all the guests drinks and snacks, waiting hand and foot on her husband Louie and full-grown sons Ziggy (Bubba Weiler) and Gabe (Austin Abrams). It’s only when she brings out the cake with lit candles and the guests sing “Happy birthday, dear Agnes!” do we realize she’s the birthday girl as well as the hostess, caterer and cleaner.
Robert is so infatuated that he begins to call Agnes as Maria after listening to the song ‘Ave Maria’ and she shows her liking to be called Maria. Dustin O’Halloran’s music is catchy. MacDonald gives a subdued performance and expresses the upheavals in her life remarkably well. Puzzle is cute film worth watching