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)
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
During the first poker party that Matt attends, one of the characters quotes a poem by William Blake. One of Blake's most well-known poems is "A Poison Tree", in which the poem's narrator describes his growing feelings of anger and hatred towards someone that has wronged him, and which eventually drives him to murder his enemy beneath a tree. This mirrors Matt's actions against Richard at the end of the film.
Warning: contains spoiler for Bully (2001))In this film, Nick Stahl is killed by the abusive ex-husband of his girlfriend. The same year he played an abusive character himself in Bully (2001), where he is killed by his victim.