THE SON'S ROOM
Release Date: January 25, 2002
Runtime: 99 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films/Disney
Director: Nanni Moretti
Producer: Nanni Moretti & Angelo Barragallo
Address Comments To:Bob & Harvey Weinstein
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 & (212) 941-3800
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The someone else happens to be an Italian psychiatrist named Giovanni. The movie opens with him jogging along the seacoast and through the port of the little Italian town in which he lives. What may have been intended to be meaningful becomes a tedious exercise of him doing his morning exercises. The only emotion is his smiling at a group of Hare Krishna singers.
He comes home to his family, his beautiful wife Paola, his attractive daughter Irene, and his son Andrea. Giovanni gets a call from Andrea’s school that Andrea stole a fossil. He meets with the principal, and Andrea is suspended for a week. Andrea insists on his innocence, and Giovanni tries to convince himself that his son would not lie or steal. Paola is totally convinced of Andrea's innocence. Sometime later, Andrea tells his mother that he stole the fossil as a joke.
In between the family moments, which move in real life speed, Giovanni listens to the tales of his psychiatric patients. Most are tedious and boring, and Giovanni looks suitably bored. One is a sexual pervert, who goes from porn movies to prostitutes to homosexual affairs, and describes them in living color.
At the breakfast table on Sunday, Giovanni asks Andrea to go jogging with him. Just then he’s called by one of his patients who desperately wants him to come over. When Giovanni returns, he finds out Andrea has had a scuba diving accident. Andrea dies soon thereafter. All of their lives start to unravel. Giovanni cannot stand his patients or their problems any more, especially the patient who called him over to listen to him whine on the Sunday he was supposed to jog with Andrea. The daughter asks for a mass, but afterwards, Giovanni mocks the words of the priest. They find out that Andrea had a girlfriend. When they meet her, she’s already with another boy. The movie drifts into emptiness.
Nanni Moretti produced, wrote, starred, directed, and seemed to do everything else in this movie, along with his Italian friends. The movie shows that he was stretched too thin, because his acting is abysmally flat and uninteresting. Laura Morante as the mother and the children may have saved this movie, if it hadn’t been constructed so poorly.
The movie starts on a yawn and passes off each of the dramatic plot points without exploring their meaning. If this was intentional, then it could be seen as a total indictment of the vacuous nature of humanist psychiatry. Nothing has meaning. There is no good and evil. There are no standards of judgment. It is just one long whine waiting for the psychiatric session to finish.
THE SON’S ROOM has an R rating for the vivid descriptions of one of Giovanni’s patients, who is a sexual pervert, and a brief marital bedroom scene. Of course, it could have been given an R for the fact that it will give its audience an hour and a half rest even if they try hard to keep their eyes open.
The joke about going to a friend’s house and having to watch their home movies is not funny when one has to sit through the shallow tale of THE SON’S ROOM. This is not to say there are no poignant situations going on in this movie, but the complete lack of dramatic structure reduces these events to mere occurrences in someone else’s life. The movie’s humanist worldview is just one long whine waiting for the psychiatric session to finish. Nothing has meaning. There is no good and evil. There are no standards of judgment