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I do not understand why this show was nominated for a Golden Globe!! True, Sissy Spacek does a wonderful performance, and that is worthy of recognition, but for the most part, the show was boring & pointless. I mean, there were scenes showing the characters smoking & mowing the lawn. Whatever. At least I didn't pay to see it.
In The Bedroom, a story of a small town Maine's residents has everything to
be the perfect picture. It is brilliantly acted, shot, and scored. However
for a picture that contains a simple story and acting par excellence, the
viewer is also stranded in a story that is all to familiar.
The most unfortunate problem with the film, is that the story is just to predictable. I'll put it to you this way. The story starts off with a family couple played by Nick Stahl and Sissy Spacek, whose young soon to become adult son is in love with an older woman of 2 kids, and is divorcing an abusive husband. Then suddenly, the community is rocked cause of tragedy that occours involving the couple.
Now that I have said that you can get an idea of what has already happened, and since this film is a 'tragedy' you can get an idea of what is to follow after the tragic events. That being said though, if it wasn't for the casting and characters in this film I would have walked out. Every single person in this film, whether it's the distraught Mother and Father (Spacek / Stahl), the older woman (Tomei), or even just the minor characters who pop up (poker card player) all give MEMORABLE amazing performances. All these characters in this film are so true to life and are like the people you know, it's as if they are not acting, the scenes of tension when they happen are intense.
But the story comes out being just too predictable for my tastes and you sit back waiting for the ingenious performances which come in droves. Also one part of the film which I can't give away without giving away too much of the plot I found a bit unrealistic.
It is these faults which make this film far from perfect but easily worth seeing for the performances alone. Certainly not a waste of film, but certainly a film that could have been SOOOOOO much better.
Rating 7 out of 10.
This overlong whodunnit is slow to get moving, but becomes mildly entertaining, with the end neatly telegraphed. The cinematography slips badly, particularly in the kitchen 'row' scene, with a serious continuity problem. There remains scope for a sequel, a la "The fugitive".
I just watched "In the Bedroom" last night. There were moments in this film
that had my heart beat faster than it would after a one-mile sprint.
Seriously dramatic, and intense scenes. But in the end, something didn't
click for me.
I find I like the film more after I think about it. Here's something the film has that others do not: realism. This film is so realistic, it's amazing. When you watch this film, don't watch it expecting something to happen. Watch it like you want to feel what the characters are feeling.
During the time in the film that Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek spend alone together, there are short vignettes of silence and short, coldly distant dialogue. Many people did not like this. I thought it was extremely close to reality. And if you hear any hype about this film, it's mostly deserved for Spacek and Tomei.
The confrontation scene at Tomei's house (CURSE ALL REVIEWERS THAT TELL TOO MUCH. GO TO HELL AND DIE FOR RUINING IT FOR ME, I DON'T CARE HOW EARLY IN THE FILM IT HAPPENED) is so well-handled, I lost my breath. Her acting, her begging her children to stay upstairs, and especially her stumble down the staircase... How brilliant that we hear the yelling downstairs while she tells her boys not to move. What a scene.
Still, after all this excellent material, the film left me hanging. It just didn't go where deep inside I wanted it to, I suppose. I think most of that may have to do with my one MAJOR problem with this movie: TOM WILKINSON. I'm not going to only say he does not deserve the attention he's getting, I'll go as far as to say there were some scenes that he was EXCRUCIATINGLY BAD in.
Now don't get me wrong, I think he is a good actor. There were a couple scenes ("Somebody say something, don't sissyfoot around me!") that he was great in. But the scenes he had with Spacek? I thought the poor woman had nothing, NOTHING to play off of!
Here is what I thought of Wilkinson in those scenes: he was like a pestering noise in a movie theatre (like someone chewing with their mouth open) during a quiet scene that I can't get passed or ignore in order to enjoy the film. I think the way he made himself sensitive with her was just done wrong.
Otherwise, the film was good. Tomei and Spacek are the two best reasons to see it, and they both should get nominations. I would even see Tomei should win, but Halle Berry is a better choice in "Monster's Ball" for the best actress choice. Alas, I would not call this one of the best films of the year.
If you can suffer through the middle act, this movie isn't that bad. But everybody's raving about the acting. I don't get it. Most of the time the actors stare at the ceiling, the floor, each other. Not much happens in the movie.I almost fell asleep from the lack of conflict in the story. People in pain is not conflict. This was painful to watch. Rent it on DVD if you're having trouble sleeping at night.
The director, Todd Field, was the piano player in Kubrick's EYES
WIDE SHUT, and he seemed to learn a lot from the master--about
what NOT to do. Field's breakthrough feature, an embellishment of
a very short Andre Dubus story, never exaggerates, never fakes,
never reaches for effect. (Well, in the brief moments it does, the
contrast is so glaring as to make you grateful for the other 98%.)
Field gets it all. He gets the shapeless, reaching desire of a young
man (Nick Stahl) who falls in love with a local single mom (Marisa
Tomei) right after college and is willing to "throw his life away" out
of sheer gratitude and relief. He gets the desire for escape in a
country doctor (Tom Wilkinson) who runs out of his office at
eleven-thirty for a lunchtime ride on a fishing boat with his kid. And
he gets the mixture of kindness and strict rectitude in a
Slavic-music major from Brown (Sissy Spacek) who relocated to
small-town Maine with her husband and didn't look back, but
seethed incessantly. Without forcing it, Field gets what the music
playing under a dreadful showdown in a podunk 7-11 would be
(Peter Frampton's "Baby I Love Your Way") and how a grieving
parent might look at a sympathetic D.A. jiggling change in his
pocket. When the action takes a ghastly turn after forty minutes, the
movie becomes a crisp portrait of what people do when mourning
the loss of a loved one: the same dumb stuff they did before, only
now they don't enjoy any of it.
Though Marisa Tomei and Nick Stahl don't bring much to their
characters (except for a brief moment when Stahl has to butter up
a grad-school admissions official), all the bit parts are
miraculously filled, as if Field found the perfect small-town-Maine
faces and instantly taught them to act. And as the parents, Sissy
Spacek and Tom Wilkinson couldn't be better. Field cast brilliantly
against type: Spacek plays a cool, controlling, superior-feeling,
iron-hard mother, and Wilkinson a soft, obliging, gently henpecked
dad. You realize how little opportunity Spacek has had to play
strength in her thirty years on the screen. (Flash through her best
roles--PRIME CUT, CARRIE, 3 WOMEN, COAL MINER'S DAUGHTER, AFFLICTION, THE STRAIGHT STORY--and there are
a lot of colors, but not much steel.) Spacek is wise enough, and
old enough now, to know to fill in certain things that aren't in the
script: like her non-softening at the end of a bad-cop moment,
where other actresses would relent and ask for the audience's
approval; or the little chuck-under-the-chin of sweetness she offers
a dimwitted acquaintance who makes a horrific faux pas--a note
that comes after she has fully, and blazingly, registered the horror.
This is the kind of role where actors are frequently praised for the
role itself, rather than their performance; Spacek's acting more
than equals it. And Wilkinson--the very picture of small-town
smartness and guff, cozy comfort and resolve, slowly blushing with
deep humiliation and then boiling in rage--nearly equals Spacek's
achievement. As Tomei's violent ex, William Mapother, a
gentleman known to me only as a relative of Tom Cruise's who is
cast in many of the star's movies, gives a perfectly authentic,
terrifying electric charge to all his scenes.
Miramax really screwed the pooch when they sunk all their
resources into THE SHIPPING NEWS and left their truly worthwhile
movie, an acquisition, to flounder. The sheer quality of the movie
seems to have miraculously overwhelmed its poor handling, and
the picture seems to be connecting with a (small) audience. One
doesn't want to overstate matters (particularly in the context of such
lovely understatement), but Field, studying literature rather than the
example of even current indie movies, in one swoop brings
American movies to a level we routinely expect from the best
European filmmakers, but never from our own: that is, the astute,
unsentimental, finely wrought rendering of life as we live it.
I was very excited to see this movie when I saw that it was the
debut of Todd Field, whom I would guess had learned a lot about directing
from being in Victor Nunez's fabulous Ruby in Paradise. Although he is
clearly a skilled director, In the Bedroom does not live up to the
reviews I've read recently. The film has interesting cinematography, a
beautiful look, a wonderful cast (the two women, Sissy Spacek and Marisa
Tomei, are particularly talented), and yet, the meat of the story never
lives up to all of these good qualities. The metaphors are ridiculously
heavy-handed, most notably a cut that keeps bleeding through a band-aid on
grieving father. I found it hard to sympathize with the husband and wife
played by Tom Wilkinson and Spacek because their actions always seemed so
deliberate and self-involved (this may be a matter of taste because I
noticed several others in the theater crying throughout the movie).
However, since the bulk of the movie focuses on their perspective, it's
difficult to feel connected with the overall story. Because the film
focuses on Wilkinson and Spacek's characters, who are both upper middle
class and educated, and places Tomei's working class character as an
obstacle to their happiness and comfort in the plot, the story seemed to
marginalize the working class point of view.
I would say In the Bedroom is a lesser version of two terrific movies about family and loss: You Can Count On Me and Ordinary People. Watch the latter instead of Bedroom if you want to feel a real connection with a movie's characters.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I thought this was a good, but not a great film - the best things about it
are the performances of Spacek, Wilkinson and Tomei, which are enough to
it for. But the plot takes too many implausible turns, which diminish its
I thought the actor playing the son was too callow to be attractive to Marisa Tomei's character, and I was totally unconvinced that the father's friend would be drawn into a murder plot - that needed to be much more the center of the story to make it believable (see A Simple Plan, for example). I thought the focus got pretty muddled before the end, and simply leaving it the way they did was very unsatisfying - unclear to me what the father's real consequences of becoming a murderer were going to be - I suppose not any, perhaps, but in that case the ending was too ambiguous to even make that a point. Nonetheless, Tom Wilkinson was particularly wonderful, and it will be criminal if he doesn't get an Oscar nomination for this.
While the acting was good in this movie, the story was weak and the ending, unearned. What was this movie trying to be? For the first and last five minutes of the movie, it felt like a thriller, and the rest, a drama in which little fresh insight was given to us about themes of loss and grief. I think the movie took itself so seriously, it tried to trick us into doing the same, yet it really didn't have anything interesting to say. Parents turn to revenge in response to devastating loss and an unjust system? There's a rift in the marriage because of this loss? Is this new or compelling? These subjects may be true to life, but they don't make for interesting storytelling.
After reading so many positive reviews I looked forward to seeing this
movie. Unfortunately, my reaction was not positive.
The movie never "got going" for me or my 18-year old daughter (and incidently a few others in the theater that through in the towel well before it's promised "surprise" ending.)
Yes, the performances are fine but certainly not Oscar worthy. The editing is excruciating at best and the story line predictably recycled.
If you want a glimpse into the lives of your neighbors and their heartaches go to Blockbuster and rent "Ordinary People."
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