What if your whole world got turned upside down by doing a puzzle? For a bored housewife named Agnes it did, and that is the premise of the movie Puzzle. Before I go further, let me first start off by saying I am no movie critic. In fact, outside of an 8th grade essay, I don’t think I have ever written a movie review before. However, when a movie comes out called Puzzle, I am pretty much left no choice to see the movie and let others know about it. So with that in mind…here is the second movie review of my life.
(While I have done my best to not spoil it or give away much of the plot, there are some unavoidable references to parts of the movie below.)
The plot of the movie is a theme that has been covered many times in different forms in all sorts of movies. A main character bored with life has a bit of epiphany that changes the course of their life forever. Bet you can’t guess what object changes the main character’s life in Puzzle…that’s right a puzzle. Agnes, who had never strayed far, both physically and emotionally, from her life in the suburbs of New York City realized that she had a gift for doing puzzles. Her ability to do 1000 piece puzzles in a very short amount of time is nothing short of amazing. (Side note: Despite the director using cardboard puzzles in the movie,, an abomination to this wood puzzle enthusiast, I will let it slide. I am sure for the sequel they come to their senses and use wood puzzles!)
Agnes’s world is opened up as a result of her special ability. Without giving away too much more, she ends up tangentially joining the puzzle competition community. This pivot from suburban housewife to competitive puzzler is what really made the movie interesting for me. The movie is full of metaphors relating puzzling to real life while trying to answer the question, “Why do people puzzle?”. One of the main characters in the movie believes that puzzling settles down all the chaos of life into one nice package (paraphrasing here). If your mind is moving at a million miles a minute, it is hard to ever see your mind as being calm. By doing a puzzle it settles our mind and also is an opportunity to organize the chaos with a finite conclusion (the puzzle is assembled).
I found this to be an interesting take on why we do puzzles. I think it gives a clear explanation of the relation of puzzles and our brains. I have asked many people over the years why they enjoy doing them. Really, what is the reason. You spend hours or even days struggling to find random pieces that fit together. When you finally have it complete, often it’s taken apart and put away, probably not to be enjoyed again for years, or possibly never. So why keep doing them? I know for me personally I find puzzling is very meditative if I am doing it solo. My mind tends to wonder while focusing on the task of completing the puzzle. I have also found a great time to listen to podcasts or books. While doing a puzzle with a group it’s a great to both be social, and meditate when the conversation settles down.
I digress, getting back to the movie. As a movie, it was very enjoyable. The casting was exceptional. I do wonder if I would have enjoyed it as much if I was not into puzzles. What are your thoughts? Did you see the movie?