In the Bedroom

"Excellent"

In the Bedroom Review


In the Bedroom is an immensely powerful motion picture that presents a small New England town in its trademark tranquility... until tragedy strikes and disrupts the folksy setting. Actor-turned-director Todd Field delivers a penetrating feature (in his mainstream debut) that suggests he has a knack for helming solid, gripping heartfelt stories that are shocking and uniquely absorbing. In the Bedroom is an eloquent and sobering drama that intensifies beyond expectation. Ambitious and convincingly involving, this film is one of the most memorable offerings of the year. Well-acted and beautifully crafted, In the Bedroom is an emotionally haunting tale that provokes the senses.

The film takes place in a small Maine community called Camden. Here, it's not all that uncommon to see chipped wooden houses on every other corner or sleepy-eyed churches that feature old rusty bells hanging in the steeple. The aura of small-town life is apparent and could pass for a Norman Rockwell painting. Among this quaint town's residents are a prototypical middle-aged couple named Matt and Ruth Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek). Matt is a distinguished physician and native Mainer. New Yorker Ruth is a high school choral music teacher who enjoys her occupation. The Fowlers have one child named Frank (Nick Stahl), a college graduate student studying architecture, who has returned home for the summer while working as a lobsterman to earn some extra money.

But Frank is tempted to stick around, blowing off his privileged Ivy League education, mainly due to his love affair with an older woman, thirtysomething Natalie Strout (Marisa Tomei). Frank's parents aren't too thrilled about his involvement with Natalie, particularly since her working-class roots are somewhat uncouth for their taste. Besides, things are rather complicated with Natalie's estranged ex-husband Richard (William Mapother). With all the turmoil, Field's protagonists rumble toward tragic circumstances that will shake their existences.

The performances are astounding and the players click with a noteworthy potency. Both Wilkinson and Spacek are engrossing as a mature couple going through the motions of a distant, straining marriage. Wilkinson's Matt is a man saturated with inner conflict while he nonchalantly tries to defeat the demons inside. Spacek's Ruth is a complex tortured soul whose inner turmoil fascinates as we watch it methodically unravel in a quiet explosion. As the soul-searching rogue Frank, Stahl brings some much-needed vibrancy to a role that could have easily been dismissed as inconsequential. And Tomei is also effective as the bouncy, married New England sassy-talking gal who is both desirable and directionless. She is radiant as the forbidden fruit that Frank finds so captivating and inescapable.

In the Bedroom is based on the short story "Killings" by Andre Dubus. The script (by Field and co-writer Robert Festinger) has an unassuming, hypnotic momentum that carries the storyline along in impeccable fashion. The characters are as intriguingly handled as the unspeakable criminal act that takes place in the movie. Field knows how to incorporate the smallest details that invoke the seeds of a tragedy. The pacing is slow at times, but it makes for an enticing and deceptive drama. Field's narrative is refreshingly unpredictable and shocking, intense and cryptic. It's one of the most impressive and intoxicating independent films to arrive on the big screen in a long time.

Oddity: No extras on the DVD aside from foreign language tracks and subtitles. Strange!

In the kitchen.



In the Bedroom

Facts and Figures

Run time: 130 mins

In Theaters: Friday 8th February 2002

Box Office USA: $35.7M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films, GreeneStreet/SKE Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 129 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Matt Fowler, as Ruth Fowler, as Frank Fowler, as Natalie Strout, as Richard Strout, as Willis Grinnel, as Marla Keyes, as Katie Grinnel, Frank T. Wells as Henry, W. Clapham Murray as Carl, Justin Ashforth as Tim

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