PUZZLE is a closely observed portrait of Agnes (the excellent Kelly Macdonald), who has reached her early 40s without ever venturing far from home, family or the tight-knit immigrant community in which she was raised by her widowed father. That begins to change in a quietly dramatic fashion when Agnes receives a jigsaw puzzle as a birthday gift and experiences the heady thrill of not only doing something she enjoys, but being very, very good at it.
After years of concerning herself exclusively with the needs and wants of her husband Louie and sons Ziggy and Gabe, Agnes has found something that she wants to do. Stepping out of her domestic bubble to pursue her new hobby, Agnes meets Robert, a wealthy, reclusive inventor who immediately recognizes her talent and recruits her as his partner for an upcoming world jigsaw tournament. Each day she spends out in the world, puzzling and conversing with Robert, takes Agnes further along on the road to a new understanding of herself and her strengths. With that understanding come new insights and an assertiveness that finds her speaking out on her own behalf and pushing back against the assumptions and routines that have until now defined her role in her family. Ultimately, Agnes will decide for herself what comes next.
When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter's family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell.
Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men's friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in. Longtime friends and collaborators, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of Oakland. Bursting with energy, style, and humor, and infused with the spirit of rap, hip hop, and spoken word, Blindspotting, boldly directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada in his feature film debut, is a provocative hometown love letter that glistens with humanity.
As timely as it is overall impactful, BLINDSPOTTING blends buddy comedy with seething social commentary, taking on racism, gentrification, police brutality, start-up culture, corporate branding, social media, the justice system with style and wit. Powerful performances highten this vibrant portrait of a community being erased in the names of progress and profit. If there was ever a film to open America's eyes, this is it