Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)

R   |    |  Drama

Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970) Poster

Lou Andreas Sand, a once famous model, recalls her past as she tries to make success in the modeling world of New York, her stressful workdays, her affair with Mark, an advertising ... See full summary »



  • Jerry Schatzberg in Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
  • Faye Dunaway and Jerry Schatzberg in Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
  • Faye Dunaway in Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
  • Faye Dunaway in Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
  • Faye Dunaway and Barry Primus in Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
  • Jane Hallaren in Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)

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3 July 2016 | moonspinner55
| Technical aspects far exceed the characters and performances...
Dud story about a fashion model falling apart is given such a handsome, chilly look, precise editing and lovely music passages that one is nearly tempted to call "Puzzle of a Downfall Child", at the very least, half a success. Still, Faye Dunaway isn't charismatic enough to carry the weight of a leaden character portrait, one wherein the heroine feels her soul fragmenting yet also questions whether she still possesses a soul to lose...or perhaps never had one to begin with (she is a lapsed Catholic, after all). Dunaway's model (with the self-made-up name of Lou Andreas Sand!) is flashing back on her career while an ex-paramour and colleague tape-records her shallow reminiscences of bitchy, badgering photographers and lovers. Her earliest memories (particularly her first modeling assignment posing with an unleashed falcon) are quite vivid, but there's no substance or self-effacing humor in Carol Eastman's screenplay (penned under the alias of Adrian Joyce). Director Jerry Schatzberg, who worked on the original story with Eastman, allows Dunaway too much room to wail and wither and carry on, and after awhile she's as isolated from us as she is from her work. Adam Holender's cinematography and Michael Small's music are each exquisite, and Evan Lottman's editing also deserves praise; however, these attributes are in the service of a barren melodrama so removed from reality that the episodes are practically devoid of anything interesting. It's almost as if that's the point. *1/2 from ****

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