Puzzle to open Edinburgh International Film Festival

This year’s EIFF will open with the international premiere of American drama Puzzle, which stars Trainspotting and No Country for Old Men’s Kelly Macdonald

Article by Jamie Dunn | 25 Apr 2018
  • Kelly Macdonald in Puzzle

Last year Edinburgh International Film Festival opened with the wonderful Yorkshire set gay romance God’s Own Country. For this year’s gambit, EIFF have looked across the pond to Puzzle, an indie drama from Marc Turtletaub. The film has a Scottish connection in its compelling lead Kelly Macdonald, the Glaswegian actor who had her breakthrough as Renton’s schoolgirl lover in Trainspotting and has gone on to carve out a career in Hollywood.

“We are thrilled to be able to celebrate the undeniable talent of Kelly Macdonald in this wonderfully enjoyable and uplifting film,” said EIFF artistic director Mark Adams.

The film is reportedly a mid-life crisis movie of sorts, following Macdonald as Agnes, an underappreciated wife and mother in her 40s who hasn’t ventured far from home, family or the tight-knit immigrant community in which she was raised by her widowed father. Her quiet life changes dramatically, however, when she’s given a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle for her birthday, and discovers she has a natural gift for putting it together at speed. When she travels to New York to buy more puzzles, she gets embroiled in the world of competitive jigsaw puzzle solving (we didn't know that was a thing either).

While the subject matter may sound dry, the reviews from Sundance, where Puzzle premiered, suggest Turtletaub’s film is a low-key gem. “We should be grateful that it exists, if only because it affords a long-overdue leading role to Kelly Macdonald,” wrote Variety’s Peter Debruge, while Playlist called it a “near-perfect movie”.

This is only Turtletaub's second feature following the little-seen Gods Behaving Badly from 2013, but he’s far from a newbie to the filmmaking game. As a producer, his many credits include indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine, neo-realist drama Chop Shop and Sam Mendes’ Away We Go, another EIFF opening film.

Turtletaub is clearly looking forward to returning to Edinburgh. "It's a great honor to be invited to have Puzzle open Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018,” he said. “This world class Festival has been a personal favorite for a long time – and being able to showcase Kelly’s performance here makes it even more rewarding.”

Turtletaub and Macdonald will present the film at EIFF's opening Gala, with tickets on sale now edfilmfest.org.uk/whats-on

EIFF runs 20 Jun-1 Jul, with the full programme announced Wed 23 May. For more information on this year’s EIFF, head to www.edfilmfest.org.uk