Giovanni is a successful psychoanalyst who has to put up with the seemingly endless string of trivial details his patients ramble on about. Yet his family provides a loving and steadfast foundation for his life that can even survive a problem like their son, Andrea, being accused of stealing a rare fossil in school. That foundation is profoundly rocked when Andrea dies in a scuba diving accident. Although the usual arrangements run smoothly, the emotional harm is profound. Giovanni begins to obsessively dwell on the missed chances he had with his son that might have saved his life, even blaming his patients. In addition, his wife is inconsolable and his daughter is becoming anti social in their loss. In the midst of this turmoil, a secret of their son’s life is revealed that provides healing in a way they never anticipated.
Kenneth Chisholm ([email protected])
User Reviews: `Son’s Room’ reminds me why I love character-driven European films: the pace is slow, the camera lingers on a face longer than an American shot would dare, and the theme is frighteningly simple but almost always universal. In this case, a loving family has lost a son; the grieving process and the letting go are painful and inevitable. The film makes it all as lyrical as could be possible for a grim topic.
The point of view is consistently the psychiatric-professional dad’s, who regrets he had not forced his son to run with him rather than go with his friends that fateful Sunday. Dad’s sessions with clients frequently mirror his personal family life, before and after the tragedy, adding a melancholy connection between this flawed evaluator of men and his clients. In a dream he tells one of his clients, `I’m just as boring as you are,’ certifying that our analyst and the rest of us are neither above nor below the ties that bind humans. Nanni Moretti writes and directs with Jean Renoir’s gifted sense of the romance and tragedy of living everyday.
The exaggerated scenes of happy family life before the tragedy, for instance when they lip-synch to tunes during car trips, serve to highlight the unbearably real grief after. Eventually it takes a young outsider to move the characters to another level of reconciliation. Throughout the film the son’s room maintains it role as motif to remind that the son, like us, lives in this space for just a short while.
This plot resolution is best expressed by the lyrics on the radio as the family comes to terms with its grief in the final scene
"Here we are stuck by this river/You and I underneath a sky/That’s ever falling down, down, down."
This ending fits well the need to get outside grief to beat it at its corrosive game.
`Son’s Room’ shows that we will be crushed by that sky if we don’t take care. The film deservedly won the top prize last year at the Cannes Film Festival.