The Son's Room is a rare foray into drama from the Italian comedian and filmmaker Nanni Moretti (Dear Diary). The result, more subtle than Life Is Beautiful, the weepfest that won Italian clown Roberto Benigni an Oscar, took the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Like the current art-house hit In the Bedroom, Moretti's film deals with a death in the family. But murder and revenge don't figure in the plot. Giovanni, the psychiatrist played by Moretti, and his wife (Laura Morante) lose their teenage son Andrea (Giuseppe Sanfelice) in a diving accident. The family, including daughter Irene (Jasmine Trinca), must struggle with the ways grief and guilt combine to divide them. Veering on the maudlin, the film ultimately succeeds by striking a universal chord on the subject of inconsolable loss. It's a stirring, humane testament from a surprising source.
From The Archives Issue 338: March 5, 1981