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
Every once in awhile, a filmmaker comes along and adds a pitch-perfect sensibility to a compelling story, well-written script, and perfect cast. This has happened with In the Bedroom. Though I saw, and enjoyed, director Todd Field's 2nd feature, Little Children, when it came out a few years back, I was truly astounded by In the Bedroom.
At a time when Americans' tastes in films are getting more and more juvenile, In the Bedroom is that rare film; one aimed adults. The characters and story line is compelling, the shots kept simple, yet beautiful, and the feel of the film is as real as most you will see. In the Bedroom would fit in perfectly with the some of the films from golden age of the 70s film-making. Unfortunately, we are seeing this less and less of those types of films these days.
It is hard to find a false moment, whether in dialogue or behavior, in this film. It deals with circumstances that we hear about every day, yet is no less captivating because of it. We are not clobbered over the head with the moments we are meant to feel deeply, yet they are apparent and often devastating to watch. There is an old saying, "you know the truth when you see it", and that certainly applies to this film. There was a knot in my stomach the entire first 30 minutes of the film, as director Field slowly builds to something you know is inevitable, and almost can't bare to watch.
Excellent performances turned in by Spacek, Wilkinson, Tomei, as well as all the supporting players. Proof, once again, that actors often make some of the finest directors.
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