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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 5 February 2003
This is a superb, moving film that is strongly recommended. Nanni Moretti has spoken in interviews of how he felt a great need to make it: to look at what life is like after the death of a loved one, to consider how grief can separate rather than unite the bereaved. There is much warmth within the film, too: Giovanni and Paola and their teenage children Irene and Andrea enjoy being together, and the early scenes of the family before their tragic loss are marvellous for the believable and realistic way in which a happy family is portrayed.
Ancona, a town in central Italy by the Adriatic Sea, is lovingly photographed by Giuseppe Lanci. Most of the action takes place here, in the family's attractive home and the adjoining consulting room of Giovanni, a psychoanalyst. The settings are nearly always full of sunlight, subtly emphasizing the fact that Giovanni, Paola and Irene can clearly see the finality of Andrea's death, they have no religious beliefs from which they can draw comfort. Moretti has said that he 'wanted this film to be true', and it is: Moretti felt that many film directors, particularly in Italy, avoided really facing the subject of death by approaching it in a comic or grotesque way ('characters dancing a kind of tarantella around the phones ringing, relatives bickering'). For Moretti and Giovanni and his family, death is as Tom Stoppard described it in 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead': not 'romantic, and not a game that will soon be over' but 'the endless time of never coming back'.
Moretti and his exceptional cast (especially Laura Morante as Paola, and Jasmine Trinca as Irene) sensitively convey the despair, rage and emptiness which follows Andrea's slightly mysterious death. Yet, the film is not depressing, and there are many lines which will make you smile, especially those spoken by some of Giovanni's patients, who cheer themselves up after their psychoanalysis by buying clothes from the surrounding shops ('I should tell my cousin to open a shop here').
Like Nanni Moretti himself, who is an actor, writer, director, producer and film exhibitor (he owns the Nuovo Sacher cinema in Rome, which shows independent productions by filmmakers such as Ken Loach and Abbas Kiarostami - and which is named after his favourite cake) the film is both serious and good-humoured. 'We can't control our lives completely,' Giovanni says to a patient near the beginning of the film, 'we do what we can'. This refreshingly honest study of a family doing what they can in terrible circumstances is a very memorable, subtle film (with an ingenious final act) which leaves an impression of laughter and love as strong as the pain of separation.
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on 7 January 2004
I was taken a back the first time I saw this film, I did not know that so much emotion could be put into 95 minutes of film. The content of The Son's Room is brutal yet beautiful, it shows the true emotion that goes along with the loss of a loved one, rather then a rose tinted hollywood perception. This film is stunning, emotive and truly one of a kind, a masterpiece by a wonderful writer and director. It is a film that will keep you gripped, it will make you smile, and more importantly it will make you cry on several occassions, surely this shows the genius of the film if it can bring so many emotions to the surface.
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on 17 August 2004
There two moments when cinema can be sublime: when it show us life as it could be and is not, and when it show us life as it rigorously is. La Stanza del Figlio is one of those moments, when we see up there on the big screen life such as it truelly is, as our life is, as we people are. That transcendent and fragile breath that gives humanity to the clay that we come from.
Ok, I'm I partial: I adore italian cinema, I adore the films by Moretti. I've seen most of his movies (well, all of them since Palombella Rossa) and is notable to watch as Moretti made the transition from politics to intimacy, all the way filming it. And thanks to that personal journey, this film has some kind of tranquility, of rare wisdom: that no matter how much we lived, what we've seen and experienced, there's always some sort of perplexity when life twists us to an almost unbearable point.
There's a remarkable sequence when Moretti displays all the dangers that threatens each family member, one after the other, and then, through the use of the ellipse, in a rather subtle and sensitive narrative, let us know who was the victim of fate's whim. And how drama unfolds in a familiar and unstopable way. And that our wounded animal eyes are sometimes our only way to let the world know of that fire that burns us from the inside.
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on 14 May 2010
If you have never seen Moretti before you won't have any problem watching this film. For the others it's really difficult and it does take some time and willpower to realise that he's not going to smile or crack some jokes around the corner.
Intelligent audience that we are, once we resolve this problem within ourselves we can get into the story.
Moretti as psychoanalyst is even more restrained than Lorraine Bracco. I'm very innocent about this and had always thought it was an American invention residing there, across the ocean, like drive-in cinema, popcorn or hamburgers. But people would buy anything, even psychoanalysis. Talking of which, even here, in this serious study of how educated and civilised people react to tragedy, some of Moretti's lifelong obsessions poke in, perhaps unwittingly, subconsciously..but there we have him again, that Trockyist pastry chef from Rome, stepping onto the dance floor (the scene when Moretti lying in bed is reading a poem to his wife.) A film that will never be made but seems to have a life of its own.
The day of the tragedy: we know the family is doomed and that there is no escaping. Destiny or whatever it is, cannot be cheated. Moretti did this incredibly well and were it not for the title of the film we would wonder who the finger of doom would point to. In the morning of that fateful Sunday, the father is driving and there is a truck coming from the opposite direction, a hint of a possible crash? At the same time his daughter is riding a motor bike with some friends very irresponsibly..a possible accident? A running man (a scippatore?) brushes against his wife at the flea market. She is surprised and dazed. The son is with his friends already in the Zodiac and we know he is doomed.
The family will survive in the end, in spite of open bleeding wounds life goes on, even without a box of plasters we have to go on.
Moretti indeed surprises as an actor. He's awfully good. As is indeed the whole cast. As are indeed the "things" in this film. The apartment, how it's furnished, it's all in impeccable taste, not a slightest hint of the gaudy or the vulgar. This does not have to do with anything or perhaps it does, in a sense that even in perfection, in paradise one is never secure. The big truth about the human life is that it can change in a second, without any previous warning.
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on 26 January 2003
This is a wonderful film. Moretti is an expert in capturing the tiny nuances which make up a character. He is able to hint at things without ever making them explicit pushing the story minutely along until you realise what he is doing. The sadness in the family after the son's death is palpable without ever being sentimental. In fact I felt as though some of the family were using it as an excuse to bring their own causes to the foreground- the son was obviously the hub of their existence. The arrival of the mystery girlfriend instantly pulls things into focus. The son hasn't been as open with the rest of the family as they think he has. He becomes a mystery and the idol they worshipped has to be reinterpreted. The cuts to the father's psychiatry practice makes this transitional period even more important; Moretti is telling us that therapy can be pointless, especially when its down to our own interpretations of situations. We only see what we want to see. The girlfriend is the embodiment of change and moving on. This causes problems for the ending which initially I found unsatisfactory, but think about it. Why are they doing what they're doing? What does she get out of it? Is it manipulation and, if so, by whom? Depending on your point of view will depend on whether you sit at the end of this film with a feeling of calm or bitter taste in your mouth.
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on 26 July 2003
This was one of the best movies I've seen lately but it is still just a typical Italian film. Italians still know how to get your attention and hold it for the length of the film. How to review it? It is not easy. Life of a middle class Italian family is interrupted by the death of a son. How does it affect all of them? They are all angry and feel somewhat responsible for that but they have to deal with the situation and help each other. The rest of it you have to see for yourself. There are some interesting twists and turns there. All I can tell you that a combination of a very good acting, perfect cinematografy, music, scenes, the story, and etc. made it a very strong, memorable and powerful film. I loved it and I am certain you would as well.
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on 26 March 2014
I found this film very realistic in the way it portrays the families reactions to the death of their son and from that point of view it was good. However, the film was so morbid and morose. I watched it and went to bed feeling deflated. When I watch a film I want to escape from reality and this film really doesn't do that. It was voted one of the 500 greatest films by empire and that's why I chose to watch it. I also found the film exceptionally slow to get going in the plot and there where parts of the film that appeared to be irrelevant to the plot. It was worth a watch just because it was on of empire's 500 greatest but I wouldn't watch it again.
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on 5 February 2008
This is more of a character study than a plot driven story, and the organic pace may frustrate those who are not used to European films. However if you're down with the idea of nothing actually happening and have a taste for the gentler side of European cinema, then this offering will not disappoint.

The Son's Room is an interesting family drama with a light touch and a wonderfully transparent delivery. The characters are presented honestly, without emotional steerage, and are loveable from the outset. It is a rare treat to see great natural acting presented in such a modest and uncomplicated way.

It's worth mentioning that despite having grief as the central theme, this is actually a feelgood movie. There seem to be a few heavy life-changing emotional rollercoaster type reviews on here that perhaps misrepresent the tone of it. I'd say most folk will be left with a gentle smile and a satisfied sigh.
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on 30 September 2013
This film is tender and a breakthrough in a tabooed area. We never dare to imagine what can happen when we lose someone in our family simply, stupidly, tragically. This film accompanies such a grief. Even though we may not know it, we will grieve, empathise and find more love in our hearts after seeing this film. Bravo Moretti!
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on 10 November 2015
I had to watch this for an assignment about grief at college. It was ok. It did what it said on the tin: an exercise in Catholic Italian grief. If it's a good cry you're looking for, watch The Notebook. If it's an illustration of stages of grief played out by wooden-ish characters watch this.
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