The Son's Room Review

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Following his teenage son's accidental death, a psychiatrist finds it difficult to devote himself to his patients while coming to terms with his own pain. However, hope of closure appears in the form of the boy's secret pen pal.


Grief was an eerily omnipresent theme in world cinema in 2001.

Yet, considering the diversity of approaches to this most sensitive of subjects, it's slightly surprising that Nanni Moretti who tackled the terrifying prospect of his own potential demise with such strength in Dear Diary has opted for a somewhat sentimental tone in this fictionalised study of a close-knit family's response to tragedy.

The meticulous build-up to teenager Andrea's diving death deftly describes a domestic idyll based on the tiny details that inform genuine emotion. Indeed, these fragments of everyday intimacy are made all the more painful (and thus truthful) by the mundane intricacies of burial and the seemingly impossible process of coping. However, Moretti's decision to cast himself as an analyst proves problematic, for while it shows that someone with so many ready answers can find none to salve his own pain, the quick-fire therapy sessions distil the intensity of his bereavement.

Thoughtful and tender, last year's Palme D'Or winner at Cannes lacks that definitive, agonising sense of loss.