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Wallflower Agnes (Kelly Macdonald) sidles around the edge of a party full of friends and family who don’t see much further than the tray of drinks and snacks she offers them. Softly spoken and buttoned-up in a nice, safe cardigan, she flits about in service of other people’s good time. It’s a neatly revealing moment when we learn that the cake she carves up for everyone else is, in fact, in celebration of her own birthday.
This big-hearted drama from producer turned director Marc Turtletaub (best known for Little Miss Sunshine) is full of carefully observed little details like this, which is what elevates the picture from its slightly twee premise: middle-aged woman discovers a talent for jigsaw-puzzling and finds herself. While it’s fair to say that competitive puzzling is not an activity that lends itself to gripping cinema, the lovely, subtle work from Macdonald, as her character blossoms and her horizons broaden, gives the film a warmth and magnetism. An added bonus is a flamboyant, expansive turn from Irrfan Khan (as Agnes’s puzzle partner and romantic foil) that harmonises elegantly with the gentle minor keys of Macdonald’s performance.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Puzzle review – Kelly Macdonald excels in gentle jigsaw drama | Film