Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. Moretti gives us something different but very important. He shows us how life goes on.
  2. We feel it, in our hearts. And therein lies the great power of this small, wise film.
  3. It takes skill these days, if not nerve, to put a vital, happy nuclear family on screen and to invite us to share in every quiet tremor, every gentle jostle and smile of their steady, deep-flowing contentment.
  4. Reviewed by: Ben Slater
    Moretti's actual direction is always simple, perhaps plain, but this no-frills approach allows him to gently craft a story full of poignant episodes, building toward a melancholy but genuinely uplifting conclusion.
  5. 90
    In the end, it's that reserve that makes it work. Keeping his distance, the director lets viewers see in full the moments in which grief turns the world into a narrow, never-ending tunnel.
  6. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    There’s not a whisper of melodrama or sentimentality in the way Moretti tells his tale, guiding us through the stages of grief with calm, devastating lucidity.
  7. Surprisingly powerful and universal: the search for meaning and small blessings in the face of life's utter randomness.
  8. 90
    Wise and surprisingly witty, the film is a minor masterpiece and could serve as a fitting companion piece to America's "In the Bedroom," another superb film about the torments of bereavement.
  9. Reviewed by: Meredith Brody
    With tender skill, Moretti illuminates Samuel Beckett's phrase "I can't go on -- I'll go on."
  10. 88
    Not all movies can be stark, difficult and obscure. Sometimes in a quite ordinary way a director can reach out and touch us.
  11. 88
    This is a superior motion picture -- an example of the pleasant surprise that can result when a skilled director departs from his usual style. By daring to be honest and unsparing, The Son's Room is meaningful.
  12. Always perceptive and curiously light in tone if not in content -- such a remarkably delicate look at an absolutely devastating subject.
  13. 80
    Isn't bold or daring, but it is delicately distinctive; it's the kind of picture that stirs subterranean rumbles of empathy in us rather than flashy, gushing waves.
  14. The movie's rejection of even a tinge of melodrama lends it a special integrity.
  15. Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    A deceivingly simple film, one that grows in power in retrospect, as the cumulative impact of so many quiet moments makes itself felt.
  16. The film's closing may be less than conclusive, yet The Son's Room must be admired, at least, for its unsentimentality.
  17. 75
    While the film is undeniably melancholy, Moretti's trademark light touch keeps it from becoming overbearing.
  18. A stately and deeply affecting look at the human condition, told in something like a series of snapshots.
  19. Moretti's performance is low-key but detailed. He makes the psychiatrist a fascinating guy, rather austere and restrained, a Northern Italian, not an expressive Neapolitan.
  20. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Stands apart for its raw, quiet emotion and its shattering sense of truth.
  21. Reviewed by: Chris Fujiwara
    A triumph of gentility that earns its moments of pathos.
  22. 75
    The Son's Room is the anti-"In the Bedroom." I mean that as a compliment.
  23. The Son's Room refers to every room this family will inhabit for a long time -- he's an unseen, ubiquitous presence -- but they may learn to lead ordinary, even joyful lives again.
  24. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    Occasionally melodramatic, it's also extremely effective.
  25. I found this film deeply affecting as well. It has a gravity that's independent of technique, and an engaging spirit that's enhanced by flashes of comedy.
  26. 70
    You leave the film like one of Giovanni's patients rising from the couch -- far from healed, but amused and pacified by the sympathy that has washed over you. [4 Feb 2002, p. 82]
  27. 63
    Despite pitch-perfect performances, the craft of Moretti's direction and his honorable intentions, The Son's Room was not especially moving.
  28. 60
    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.
  29. 60
    A movie more to be prescribed than recommended.
  30. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    While devotees expecting Moretti's wry worldview may feel shortchanged, others will find this a profoundly moving experience, giving it fuel to cross borders into the arthouse niche.
  31. Moretti's acting skills aren't up to the demands of the main role, and his portrait of family life is too simplistic to be credible.
  32. A bit too awed by its depiction of the healing power of love. It's minor indeed compared with "In the Bedroom," which deals with a similar subject and doesn't back away from the rawness of grief.
  33. A measured, decorous, at times pat film that manages to be quietly moving because it touches on something real.
  34. 30
    The film portrays a family undone by grief over the death of a loved one; that, in any event, is its plot synopsis. More accurately, the film is a wallow of authorial narcissism, and a tedious, unrelenting, uninteresting wallow at that.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Mar 29, 2012
    I watched this film several years before on TV, but interrupted and left unfinished, this time finally completed in the Febiofestâ
  2. JMc
    Nov 17, 2011
    I rented The Son's Room again the other day, after many years. I was stunned by the understated emotional wallop it packed. That final sceneI rented The Son's Room again the other day, after many years. I was stunned by the understated emotional wallop it packed. That final scene is the most haunting damn thing. I can't get it out of my mind. I'm going to the shops now to see if I can buy the DVD. Full Review »