The Stunning Drama of ‘Puzzle’

From my 1.27.18 Sundance dispatch:

"From its first elegantly shot frame, you know “Puzzle” is going to be something special. When we meet Agnes (a remarkable Kelly Macdonald, riveting even in her quietest moments), she’s in her comfort zone, readying her home for a party, meticulously vacuuming and cleaning every inch of dirt in the living room. Even when the party begins she is still at work, focusing on what might be “off” in the living room, but here’s the kicker: she emerges from the kitchen carrying a birthday cake filled with candles and her guests starts to singing “Happy Birthday” to her. Eventually, things do get somewhat complicated in Moverman’s script, with a struggle to tie things up, if they should be tied-up at all, but Agnes’ dilemma to pursue her personhood is never overdone. Just like her own personality, the film is restrained enough to always leave a mystery lingering behind every decision. Turtletaub does have a hard time finding a way to conclude Agnes’ story, but he ends “Puzzle” on such a delightful note of simplicity, that this near-perfect movie nevertheless stuns."

“Puzzle” hits theaters July 13.