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
A Subtly Brilliant And Restrained Film About Human Nature, Instinct, And Emotion...
Everything about this film is wonderfully done, from the restrained direction and acting, to the inexorable progression to tragic conclusion following preceding events. All the actors and acting are excellent, with a particularly subtle and brilliant portrayal by Tom Wilkinson as Dr. Fowler. Always great, he is, in my estimation, one of the unsung and underrated actors in film today. Sissy Spacek is also wonderful, and the inevitable emotional fall-out in their relationship after their shared experience is beautifully done. Very human - and very real.
Though difficult to watch, it is a great film, great story, with great performances all around by gifted actors. Not to be unsung are the excellent performances by Marisa Tomei, and all the other supporting actors. A film that would benefit one to watch more than once, there is that much substance there. Worth paying particular notice to is the opening metaphor in the scene on the lobster boat where Tom Wilkinson (Dr. Fowler) explains the nature of how a lobster-trap works - and the name the lobster-men (and tradition) have given to the inner part of the trap. This is the metaphor for the human story that will, tragically, unfold.
A great film, with great work all around. Todd Field is a director to remember.
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