Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald gives a moving performance in Marc Turtletaub’s 'Puzzle'


Puzzle ★ 1/2

Adapted from Argentinian director Natalia Smirnoff’s 2009 drama, Rompecabezas, Marc Turtletaub’s Puzzle is distinguished by a superbly moving performance from Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, who—at age 42—has finally landed a long-awaited lead role in a feature. When she was 20, she appeared in Danny Boyle’s seminal drug drama, Trainspotting. You might also recognize her as the simple wife of Josh Brolin’s doomed hero in No Country for Old Men. And despite starring with Steve Buscemi in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and voicing the lead character in Pixar’s Brave, this will likely be the first time that moviegoers get to see her really stretch her legs. On the surface, she may be playing another simple wife, but Oren Moverman and Polly Mann’s delicate screenplay affords her an opportunity to bring a great many shadings to her role as Agnes. She’s a quiet mother of two, the college-bound Gabe (Austin Abrams of last year’s Brad’s Status) and his older brother Ziggy (newcomer Bubba Weiler), who’s employed at the garage run by his dad, Louie (David Denman). Secretly, Ziggy dreams of becoming a cook, a profession his father would frown upon. He’s not the only one with hidden desires, though. When Agnes discovers she has a gift for piecing together jigsaw puzzles, the sheltered housewife begins lying to her family as she travels into Manhattan twice a week to train for a competition with an enigmatic man (Irrfan Khan) who encourages her to assemble the unconnected pieces of her life. (At Boston Common and Kendall Square.)

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