La stanza del figlio
starring Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante, Jasmine Trinca, Giuseppe Sanfelice
screenplay by Linda Ferri, Nanni Moretti, Heidrun Schleef
directed by Nanni Moretti
by Walter Chaw Teetering along the narrow line that separates "poignant" from "maudlin," the curiously detached The Son's Room (La Stanza del figlio) ultimately errs on the side of the latter through increasingly unsubtle and rote revelations about the process of grief. Written (with Linda Ferri and Heidrun Schleef), directed, and starring the "Italian Woody Allen," Nanni Moretti, the film is too clearly the product of a veteran comedian's mind: all seriocomic vignettes barely tied together by the loosest of narrative structures. It may be more appropriate to describe Moretti as the Italian version of America's own teary velvet clown: Robin Williams. (Unflattering, yes.) The winner of the prestigious Palme d'or at this year's Cannes Film Festival (beating out Mulholland Drive, In The Bedroom, and The Man Who Wasn't There, each this film's superior), La Stanza del figlio is well performed but unconvincing, aspiring to a sober emotional depth that is consistently undermined by high-decibel wailing, a tinkling, sappy soundtrack and score, and melodramatic trials and their telegraphed resolutions.