7.5/10
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512 user 179 critic

In the Bedroom (2001)

A New England couple's college-aged son dates an older woman who has two small children and an unwelcome ex-husband.

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(screenplay) (as Rob Festinger), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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4,122 ( 1)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 38 wins & 69 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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William Wise ...
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Frank T. Wells ...
W. Clapham Murray ...
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Terry A. Burgess ...
District Attorney
Jonathan Walsh ...
Diane E. Hamlin ...
Davis' Assistant
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Storyline

In idyllic Mid-Coast Maine, the Fowler family's only son Frank comes home from his freshman year at college for summer vacation. His mother Ruth, the school choir director, is unhappy with Frank dating soon-to-be divorced mother Natalie who is several years his senior, but Frank's father Matt, the town doctor, doesn't see a problem. While Frank considers holding off his future for Natalie, her jilted husband causes them all problems until an unthinkable tragedy shakes the community to its very core. Written by Bryan Way

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A young man. An older woman. Her ex-husband. Things are about to explode...

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

8 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A hálószobában  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,700,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$93,972 (USA) (23 November 2001)

Gross:

$35,918,429 (USA) (10 May 2002)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Color:

(CFI)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A scene cut from the final version shows Ruth (Sissy Spacek) and Matt (Tom Wilkinson) watching the film Barry Lyndon (1975) at The Strand Theater in Rockland, Maine on the night of their wedding anniversary. Ruth tells her son Frank (Nick Stahl) "It was the first film your father and I ever saw together." This was intended by director Todd Field as an homage to Stanley Kubrick, whom Field had worked with on Eyes Wide Shut (1999) See more »

Goofs

In several scenes, the Fowlers are drinking Moxie soda, a brand most people think disappeared in the 1950s. It still exists in Maine and a few other locations around northern New England. See more »

Quotes

Natalie: [Frank plays with blocks while Natalie relaxes in a beach chair] Hey... You know I've been ignoring our difference in age but you keep playing with those blocks, I'm gonna start to worry.
Frank Fowler: You're not looking at the house. Look.
[Natalie moves closer to Frank]
Frank Fowler: It's not all mine, it's part Mack. See, the whole idea of what Mack was trying to achieve was a common area in the center of the house. I mean, large, open spaces- they weren't unique to Mack but the idea of seperating the family so that the ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to Andre Dubus and is based on his short story "Killings". See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Sopranos: Mergers and Acquisitions (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Happy Birthday to You
(1893) (uncredited)
Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
Sung a cappella by William Mapother
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
something's going on in the bedroom
10 December 2002 | by (Salt Lake City, Utah) – See all my reviews

9 out of 10

Watching Todd Field's feature film debut `In the Bedroom,' I could not help but be impressed by the sheer audacity of the film, by the spot-on performances, and by the many twists and turns that no critic should reveal. Yet amidst all the film's obvious strengths, there was still something missing-something to tie it all together, something to endow the film with more than just a fleeting impression.

Ironically perhaps, I was provided this missing bit of information not by the film, but by a male audience member sitting at the end of my aisle, trying to explain the point of the film in less than derogatory terms to his female companion.

`You're missing the whole point of the film,' he said. `It was all about men being controlled by women.'

No doubt he read this interpretation from someone else's review of the film (and what a sweet piece of justice it would be if that critic were a woman). It is quite possible that he was not even aware of the ramifications of what he had said. But this man's legitimacy aside, his statement has not left me since, and the film in turn has had the same luck in escaping me.

We are first introduced to Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl, `Bully') and Natalie Strout (Marisa Tomei, `My Cousin Vinny'), he a young college student with no immediate plans to settle down, she an older divorcee raising two children. They are in love, though for Frank she is little more than a `summer fling.' Meanwhile Natalie's ex-husband, Richard (William Mapother, `Mission: Impossible 2'), is unwilling to let her out of his life, and begins to be physically abusive to Frank. Frank's parents, Matt (Tom Wilkinson, `The Full Monty') and Ruth (Sissy Spacek, `The Straight Story')-both in top form here-show appropriate concern for their only son, and they intervene in this dangerous love triangle with unexpected twists and tragic results.

The film jumps about in tone from a light romantic romp to a seeming political treatise to a creepy, nocturnal thriller. Some have criticized the film for this alleged inconsistency in tone, slow pacing, and a deliberate ending. But these naysayers have overlooked the point.

Frank may not even really love Natalie, so much as he loves being controlled by her and sating his mother by being with her. Richard becomes a threat to everyone because he is unwilling to let Natalie consider him out of her life; he is a slave to her whim. The resulting tension reveals a rift between Frank's parents, and in particular, his father's actions in the end demonstrate a helpless allegiance to his wife and her command.

Field, who up until now has been primarily an actor (he was the piano player in `Eyes Wide Shut'), understands these important points but does not beat the viewer over the head with them. He presents a reality more raw and true than any other piece of film in recent memory. Yet he does so with a restraint that Hollywood seems to have forgotten. Most of the film's violence is overheard or implied, and only explicitly shown when necessary for the audience to completely understand what has happened. This allows for more subtle details, like a bridgekeeper who must run around in circles to alternate traffic between the road and the sea, to emerge as truly haunting, lasting images.

But `In the Bedroom' is not about any of these things. It is, first and foremost, about its characters. It does not fall prey to plot mechanics, nor does it flinch at exploring even the most sympathetic characters' darkest sides. For this and so many other reasons which are best left discussed behind closed doors between loved ones, `In the Bedroom' succeeds at turning the camera on flawed relationships of all forms, and it is one of the best films of the year.


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