The Son's Room

***1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Winner of the top prize at Cannes, The Son's Room is an honest, deeply felt, painful film. It is also slow moving, undemonstrative and caught up in the minutiae of everyday life.

Nanni Moretti is famous for personal statements and autobiographical pieces (Dear Diary, Aprile). This has none of his trademark stream-of-consciousness ramblings, or self-centred navel gazing. It tells someone else's story.

Giovanni (Moretti) is a psychoanalyst, married to the beautiful Paola (Laura Morante) and living in a spacious apartment, that includes his office, in a small Italian seaside town. They have two teenage children, Irene (Jasmine Trinca) and Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice). It appears a stable and loving marriage.

The opening section establishes the relationship between the four of them and introduces a number of his patients. Irene seems self-confident, popular at school and in the basketball team. Andrea is uncompetitive and easy going, which niggles his father - "Why don't you play to win?"

Just when you are wondering where this is going, something happens that will change their lives forever and Moretti examines the damage to the family. The switches of emotion, the detail, the guilt, the blame, the retreat into isolation and need to move on is perfectly observed and supremely well played, especially by Morante.

In the end, however, the film's heart breaks and what remains are fragments of a story that hurts to watch.

Reviewed on: 31 Oct 2001
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A family grives over the loss of their son in a freak diving accident.
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Director: Nanni Moretti

Writer: Linda Ferri, Nanni Moretti, Heidrun Schleef

Starring: Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, Giuseppe Sanfelice, Silvio Orlando, Claudia Della Seta

Year: 2001

Runtime: 87 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: Italy/France

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