The Son’s Room (2001)

“A sense of common danger”

‘The Son’s Room’, directed by Nanni Moretti in 2001, is an Italian tragic comedy. Moretti plays  Giovanni, a therapist in Ancona who spends his days listening to the problems of other people and his home life dealing with minor issues with his teenage son. One weekend he is due to spend time with his son, but is instead called out to a patient. His son instead goes diving with friends and dies in an accident. The rest of the film follows Giovanni and his wife as they struggle with their grief and with the revelation that his son had a girlfriend who they have to break the news to. I really like Moretti’s style. Like ‘Caro diario’ from 1993, ‘The Son’s Room’ has a grounded sense of place but a twisted and charmingly skewed approach to character. There’s a touch of Woody Allen about Giovanni, but it doesn’t have the American director’s sentimentality. Instead Moretti buries himself in his part, making Giovanni a man filled with supressed emotions. Highlights of the film include the morbid focus on the details of Giovanni’s sons funeral arrangements, a sudden moment of fantasy as the therapist day dreams during a boring session, and a shocking burst of emotion during another. The overall tone is Pedro Almodóvar crossed with Allen and Moretti rivals Paolo Sorrentino as the best Italian director currently working.

Would I recommend it? It’s far darker than ‘Caro diario’, but it is profound, melancholic and strangely life affirming. Watch in a double bill with Almodóvar’s  ‘Julieta’.


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