Cover of "The Son's Room"

Cover of The Son’s Room

Nanni Moretti is a fine artist whose Italian film, The Son’s Room (2001), is a largely well done, sometimes brilliant, work about intense grief over the death of a couple’s adolescent son.  The parents—Giovanni (a psychiatrist) and Paola—and their surviving daughter are in a tailspin, with Giovanni finally deciding he cannot be both disconsolate and guilt-feeling and a psychiatrist.  Although the chronicle is a little thin, constantly shifting to Giovanni’s work with his patients, the film is sobering and smart (and not without humor).  Plus it’s persuasively acted by Laura Morante, Moretti, et al.

Moretti is unsympathetic to clergymen, though.  Or is Bert Cardullo right that the director-writer looks askance at the thinking of people in “a post-religious age”?  The conclusion of The Son’s Room does seem ambiguous, not about life’s continuum which causes Giovanni and Paola to laugh, but about a salutary acceptance of death by the secular-minded.

(In Italian with English subtitles)