The Son's Room
Aside from the rather stunning notion that the Italian film The Son's Room (La Stanza del Figlio) took the Palm D'Or at Cannes last May, hardly anything else about this stiflingly mild domestic drama--written by, directed by, and starring Nanni Moretti--packs much of a wallop. Moretti is a blandly pleasant, levelheaded psychologist whose hard-won composure is upended by the sudden death of his quirky, secretive teenaged son (Giuseppe Sanfelice) in a scuba-diving accident. The tragic loss sends his orderly, comfortably bourgeois family (including fetching wife Laura Morante and amiable daughter Jasmine Trinca) into a tailspin, if breaking a few dishes and squirting out a few tears can be called that. Too underplayed and meandering to be as stirring as it's intended to be, The Son's Room also has the misfortune of resembling recent critical fave In the Bedroom in both its title and (albeit more faintly) its premise. And as predictable and overpraised as the American sleeper hit is, The Son's Room can't measure up, its comparable subtlety notwithstanding.