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Parents' Guide to


By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Lovely personal empowerment story has some language.

Movie R 2018 103 minutes
Puzzle Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+

Irritating main character, although very well acted

There is much made of the main female character being Catholic. She identifies as a church lady. She also identifies as a good mother and wife. We initially see her as “over run” by her husband and sons, which she seemingly encourages, or at least willingly accepts, until she decides to stand up for herself. What starts as a spunky self-caring adventure denegrates into some decidedly unChristian-like behaviors... lying repeatedly, using the f-word several times, clearly favoring one son over the other, having sex with an acquaintance, manipulating her husband to give up his favorite thing in life, and then walking away from everyone (all the men in her life) leaving a wake of destruction behind her. The acting is marvelous, which is a credit to the cast. The trailer, however, was very misleading. I was expecting a quirky character who stays faithful to who she is, yet uses her newfound independence to blossom. What I got was a story about the downfall of men through the actions of one woman... original sin.
1 person found this helpful.
age 15+

Coming of age in your 40s

I thought this was a sweet systo with a main character who isn't always acting ethically, but nevertheless wins us over as she tries to figure out what she wants and who she is late in life. Older teens might get something from it, but my guess is they will not relate to this simple story about a quiet woman finding herself. There is an infidelity story line, so if that's not your thing, be aware.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (1 ):

This is a beautiful, nuanced film with remarkable performances. It's a drama, but it's lively -- and handled with a gentle, light touch that allows for plenty of laughs of recognition. Based on the 2010 Argentine film Rompecabezas, Puzzle generates conflict and tension without actual villains. Macdonald turns in wonderful, sympathetic work as a woman who had barely dared to dream beyond the borders of her small town before realizing there was so much more for her in the world. She makes Agnes bloom before our eyes; it's some of the best work of her career. Khan also shines as the puzzle master with a complex internal life; he's not a one-dimensional cliché, but rather a thinking, feeling person with damage of his own. It's hard to convincingly convey a brilliant mind; Khan does it with panache. And young Weiler is a find as the son who's withering in the life he's been shoehorned into.

Director Marc Turtletaub (known as a producer of such films as Little Miss Sunshine) lets the movie's moments breathe and captures the full interactions between his characters. His handling of the sensitive script, adapted by indie powerhouse Owen Moverman, finds subtle ways to reveal character and exposition. The film's low-key realism makes the rare moments of direct conflict or important decisions all the more consequential. Puzzle is a lovely tale of empowerment fueled by two excellent lead performances.

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