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Puzzle
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1 vote, average: 10.00 out of 51 vote, average: 10.00 out of 51 vote, average: 10.00 out of 51 vote, average: 10.00 out of 51 vote, average: 10.00 out of 5
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Puzzle

Puzzle

Puzzle” is the missing piece in American blockbuster filmmaking. It’s about what Peter Parker’s Aunt May does with her days while Spider-Man is off saving the neighborhood, or how Clark Kent’s adoptive mother Martha feels about her life back in Smallville. So often, great actresses are relegated to playing the wives and girlfriends of heroic male protagonists, appearing only to bite their nails or fret by the phone amidst all the excitement. “Puzzle” focuses on the part of the story those films ignore, privileging the interior life of just such a woman via the unexpected mid-life discovery that she’s a jigsaw puzzle prodigy, and the independent streak that realization inspires.

It’s a small, subtle movie — like a Vermeer, painted on the head of a pin — conceived by a woman (Argentine director Natalia Smirnoff’s quiet, detail-oriented debut was a break-out at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival) and then handed over to a male director (“Little Miss Sunshine” producer Marc Turtletaub) for its sensitive, yet strangely airless English-language remake. That’s not to suggest a man can’t capture or appreciate the nuances of such a story (it’s a man who’s reviewing it, after all). From “Amelie” to “Aquarius,” there are countless examples of man-made movies that explore the unspoken hopes and dreams of female protagonists, but there’s no question that the original film’s appeal owes to the perspective of the woman who created it. Where “Rompecabezas” (“The Puzzle”) felt personal, its retelling seems patronizing — or at the very least pathetic, presented with the kind of solemnity you’d expect while reading a suicide note.

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