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Not a False Moment to Be Found. Stunning.
rddj052 November 2008
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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perhaps not my favorite film but a perfect one.
vabalos21 February 2004
A dark story told with amazing weight and balance, it is cinematically perfect. Aside from the excellent performances by Wilkinson, Spacek and Tomei, it is

Field's film. He uses a deft touch to examine the lives of a couple devastated by loss. The perfection of this film lies in the small touches, the subtle gestures, the powerful symbolism that Field displays throughout. Even the most powerful

moment, the shooting, is done off camera. It isn't so much what you see, its what you don't, what Field implies throughout the film. He creates moments in this movie that convey complex emotion through subtle actions. The film creates

unsettling scenes without being disturbing. Reflections of actors moving as if underwater through their lives, we see them caught in the windows of their

home, ghosts in their house and in their lives, struggling to cope until the film's resolution. Attempting to heal each other and themselves through a single act of redemption that seems at the same time surprising and inevitable. It isn't my favorite movie, but i still think it's as close to a perfect film i've seen.
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Delivers what Movies are meant to deliver.
pdvincit26 August 2008
I have friends who do not want to see dark movies. Too depressing, given the news these days. I can understand that.

But farce grows quite tiresome. Clever repartee is fine sometimes. Action films are frequently exhausting and you can only watch so many cars, trains, planes and buildings explode. Plus, you are hungry an hour later.

This movie is a rare opportunity to miss excessive violence, pratfalls and smart-mouthed kids, teenage titillation, explosions, chases, stock characters, overacting and thin plot contrivances.

Enjoy a movie where the characters are complex, the actors spot-on in their craft, and the story is compelling.

Or don't. "Independence Day" is probably on cable somewhere.
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something's going on in the bedroom
Evil_Will_Hunting10 December 2002
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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Revenge shown to be illusion in this realistic work.
Erick-1218 November 2003
The film is, as all the critics say, emotionally involving, wrenching and all that. Acting is natural and realistic, down to the nitty-gritty. The valuable and rare thing here is that the story works against the most common plot at the movies today: the revenge plot. Here instead, revenge gets a more ambiguous and thoughtful treatment. We are accustomed to being flattered as an audience, sent home feeling good that "our" side wins in the end against the evil. In this film that stereotypical and simplistic Good vs Evil is taken apart. The revenge leaves us feeling unusually unsettled, which is a very good thing in a deeper sense.
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a real modern classic
JudgeMalone2 January 2004
A rarity in modern cinema, In the Bedroom is a movie for thinking adults that is one of the most thorough yet subtle examinations of violence and its consequences I've ever seen. Tom Wilkerson gives a masterful and restrained performance, and Sissy Spacek and nearly everyone else is uniformly excellent. Although it is a searing and unflinching look at nearly unspeakable grief, it is poignant and thoughtful and even has scenes of humor if you are ready for it. Todd Field's screenplay is one of the most brilliant in recent memory. I really wish we had more mature stuff like this coming out of Hollywood. Powerful films that deal with violence and its aftermath and meaning like this make films like Kill Bill look even more repellent than they already are.
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10/10 attention for Sissy Spacek's name at this year's Oscars...
poetellect9 May 2001
So simple. So honest. So heartbreaking. I dare you to see this movie and not go through a self-invasive, heartfelt understanding for the familial and emotional conflicts these characters go through. one of the best films shown at Sundance, hands down. Not a movie for the emotionally squeamish...brutally powerful... Violent, excruciating truth and beauty...the raw emotional power imbued into the scenes with Wilkinson and Spacek are Oscar-worthy. Marisa Tomei finally gets a role worthy of her talent since My Cousin Vinny. Utterly unforgettable, and a slam-dunk certainty for some kind of oscar, whether screenplay, acting, or directorial.

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A Subtly Brilliant And Restrained Film About Human Nature, Instinct, And Emotion...
leyward12 February 2006
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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A dark drama that will have you glued to the screen
shades03323 January 2002
Sometimes, it's fun to go see a movie without having any expectations, or even having knowledge of the basic plot or premise. It's also nice to see a movie that would usually get ignored in a crowded market get a large amount of attention without having the plot be too obvious from trailers or commercials. Although In the Bedroom has been in theatres for a number of months, it's only recently started getting attention and positive word of mouth after Sissy Spacek's Golden Globe nomination.

Tom Wilkinson plays Dr. Matt Fowler and Sissy Spacek plays his music teacher wife, an older couple living in a small Maine fishing town, who become worried when their only son becomes involved with an older woman with two kids, played by Marisa Tomei. Their worries soon prove to be warranted, as the woman and her estranged husband proceed to destroy the teenager's life. Ultimately, it has a devastating effect on the couple's everyday life and their relationship.

This movie is a fascinating and powerful character study of people in a small town and how conflict and tragedy affect them. It is a story that takes place in three clear-cut acts separated by two twists, both of which take the viewer by surprise although they're both foreshadowed and somewhat expected.

It's hard not to compare this movie to the recently released Monster's Ball, one of my least favorite movies of last year, but it's a fair comparison, since it also showed a series of tragic and sudden events and how they affect the people in a small town. Unlike Monster's Ball, I found the actions and emotions of the characters in this movie to be a lot more plausible, and you can't help feeling the despair of the couple as they deal with their son's problems.

In the Bedroom also compares to last year's The Deep End, and Sam Raimi's underrated A Simple Plan, two other slow movies that dealt with how small town folk deal with problems and how those problems sometimes lead to more drastic actions. It's never clear whether the Fowlers disapprove of their son's relationship is because the woman is older and has two kids or because of the problems that her estranged husband brings to the relationship. At times, it seems like the Fowlers' only worry is that their son may not go to college in order to stick around and take care of his older lover and her kids.

Either way, the parents starts to drift apart due to their overpowering sense of grief and inability to change things, and it's not long before they're playing the blame game on who is responsible for their son's situation. When they finally explode, it's one of the most powerful film moments in recent memory. The shorter third act shows how they learn to cope and deal with their problems.

Despite the slow pace and the excessive length, the performances and the beautiful yet subdued camerawork and choice of setting keeps the viewer riveted to the screen.

It's been far too long since we've seen Sissy Spacek in a movie, and like this year's other comeback kid, Robert Redford, her age is showing. But her age also makes her perfect for the role of Ruth Lawler, as her world -weary eyes seem suitably representative of Ruth's own frustrations.

Like last year's The Deep End and The Others, this movie shows how an over-protective mother can alienate her children while trying to help them. Spacek gives another groundbreaking performance that shows talented yet less experienced actresses Tilda Swinton. Nicole Kidman and especially Halle Berry how to create realistic emotions on screen. Late in the movie, there is a particularly tense yet short confrontation between Spacek and Marisa Tomei that shows how much better these two actresses are.

Tom Wilkinson has played comedic parts in The Full Monty and has appeared in a number of period pieces including Sense and Sensibility and The Patriot. In the Bedroom proves him to be quite a talented dramatic lead actor, as his performance allows him the full range of emotions, and he creates a character as believable and real as Spacek's.

First-time director Todd Field is probably best known as playing Nick Nightingale, the pianist who gets Tom Cruise in a bit of trouble in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Field uses the Maine setting beautifully to create a portrait of the couple's life, and he uses the pacing to create insurmountable tension before driving a wedge between the couple. The script by Field and Robert Festinger is one of the better ones of the year with dialogue that is far too real, yet perfectly suited for talents such as Spacek and Wilkinson.

Obviously, this movie will be getting a good deal of Oscar attention due to the performances by Spacek, Wilkinson, Tomei, and the terrific script. If you want to see action, go see Blackhawk Down; if you want to see the fine form of filmmaking as perfected by two master thespians and a talented new director, than In the Bedroom will have you riveted to the screen. Rating: 9 out of 10
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An acting masterclass
adsdmnel20 March 2006
An exceptional film which emulates the astounding talents of Tom Wilkinson. I thought he was OK in The Full Monty, but he is exceedingly well cast in the role of father who is grieving inside the loss of his only child. Tom acts with intelligence and resounding compassion as a man driven to revenge. The film is delivered and directed with a slow build up of tension towards a shocking and absorbing climax. This film offers great performances from the ensemble of actors and is directed intelligently. It maybe a tragic and slow film but it will leave the audience empathising with the characters rather than sympathising with them. A truly remarkable and contemporary film.
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Wanted to like the movie... couldn't.
charlb20025 October 2002
I wanted to like this movie. But I didn't. That about sums it up. The movie follows a plot, and beats it to death by showing us several hundred shots of Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek in grievance. It's not that these two wonderful actors (although I liked Wilkinson, and not so much Spacek) don't have reason to be upset, but I wish I hadn't been forced to watch several hundred fragmented scenes that were all only about fifteen seconds long. After a certain number of shots of sad faces, I was not sorry for them anymore and became upset that the plot wasn't going anywhere. Then it did, spinning in a direction and ending in a climax that seemed totally unmotivated and unreal. (Note: When Matt Fowler comes into the bedroom the final time, I totally predicted Ruth's line to the word... because I had been thinking, "I would be so mad if she said this..." and then she did. Crazy.) There were maybe three really exciting scenes, one in which the wonderful but under-utilized Marisa Tomei (whose accent may or may not have been a bit unsettled... are you British or southern?) got to act really hard. The rest of the movie was virtually silent, with a lot of shots of wheat-colored New England. Besides being dull to look at and hear, it was dull to watch. With the exception of Wilkinson, whose acting was amazing but character suffered, the cast (for which I had had such high hopes -- hello! Sissy Spacek!) was weak. I'm glad I saw it, but I didn't like it. Too bad, I guess. Rent it if you want, you should always make your own judgments about movies... this could possibly be your favorite movie. Don't let me stop you. :)
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When Tragedy Strikes.....Chaos Strikes.
tfrizzell22 May 2002
First-time director Todd Field's "In the Bedroom" is a dark and disturbing film which is both a joy and a trial to sit through. Recent high school graduate Nick Stahl is having a little bit of fun during his last summer of freedom. He is seeing Marisa Tomei (Oscar-nominated), a woman twice his age who has young children and is separated from her shady husband (William Mapother in an appropriately chilly performance). Mother and music teacher Sissy Spacek (Oscar-nominated) worries about the relationship while father and town doctor Tom Wilkinson (also Oscar-nominated) shrugs off the partnership as a simple summer fling. When tragedy strikes, the simple life in Camden, Maine turns into chaos for all involved. "In the Bedroom" is one of the roughest films I have ever watched. It is a movie that is thought-provoking in the fact that everything seems so normal and yet darkness looms overhead for the primary characters in the film. The fact that the film takes place in rural Maine just makes it that much more scary. When one thinks of situations from the movie occurring, few think of a place like Maine. Much like "Fargo", "In the Bedroom" shows that bad elements are everywhere, even in the most unlikely of places. However, be warned that "In the Bedroom" does not go for the black humor that "Fargo" went for. This is a film that will chill you to the bone. It is a must-see and easily one of the top five or ten films of 2001. 5 stars out of 5.
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Use of Sound
robert-dixon-112 May 2009
The use of sound in the film was interesting. Background noise was used to tell the story as much as as the filming angles. This gave the movie a compelling dimension of claustrophobia for the main characters as though everything was closing in on them.

The sound aspect perfected a sense of distraction or lack of concentration that many people may feel after a tragedy. Of course the obvious scene is where the Dr. Fowler is speaking to the DA. The focus of the camera captures the movement of the DA's mouth, then the jingling of the keys in the DA's pocket. Another not-so-obvious scene is when Dr. Fowler visits Natalie in the country store. The footsteps, the creaking of the floor boards, and the beeping noises from the cash register all create the sense that both Natalie and Dr. Fowler want to lash out at creators of those noises.
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a good movie, but whoa...
ImmortalCorruptor21 June 2002
I'd heard of this from the Oscars, as well as other critical sources. I've heard it was an awesome movie that will go down in history. It was a great film, but whoa...we got a little carried away here.

This is a great movie. Not because of the story, nor the directing...the greatness is the result of the abilities of the actors. If this were cast with a lower caliber of actors, it would've been a blah film that wouldn't have had much mention.

But there were the actors. They tore it up for this. There was no over acting, no playing it down for "less is more". Everyone in this film is someone you can believe in, they're all people you've met and live with. At times it was painful to watch how real the characters were, because of their reactions to the story, but that's life, and this was a quiet film with honesty in mind. It never insults your intelligence. Not once.

My only beef with this was the timing. The directing was good. That's all I can say. The actors were directed perfectly, but the timing seemed a bit slow in some places. It felt as though sometimes a point was made and a mood was established...again...and again...and again...etc...

Besides the fact that the movie needed a shave, I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a thriller with it's feet planted well in reality. But only for the abilities of the actors, nothing more.
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A classic small-town family tragedy told with visual prowess
Movie_Muse_Reviews10 April 2008
"In the Bedroom" is a very quiet film that is shot and acted in a very restrained manner. Todd Field, who is essentially the man responsible for the film, uses a technique that is all too fitting for the story he tells: shocking tragedy in a family and the way it changes people.

"In the Bedroom" is about a family in Maine consisting of a husband and wife (Wilkinson and Spacek) and their only son Frank (Nick Stahl) who is in college, home for the summer, and romantically involved with an older woman (Marisa Tomei) who has two children and an ex- husband (William Mapother, currently of LOST fame). The trouble occurs as Frank naively believes he can continue his love affair without repercussions and eventually tragedy occurs.

The film's true beauty comes with character reaction to the tragedy. Wilkinson and Spacek are both perfect at showing an inner monologue without saying anything, which fits Field's style: a series of stills held for long periods of time (sometimes shorter but feel longer) without almost any camera movement. When the camera doesn't move, your eye has a tendency to explore and your mind a tendency to reflect, which allows the viewer to empathize with the life-altering epiphanies of the characters as they struggle. A lot is then placed on the actors to draw attention to themselves through facial expressions.

Field's style also does really well with suspense. A film shot in a more typical fashion would have a very light and easy feel given the setting, but this technique give it a more ominous feel. Field really masters this film from a director's chair, but instead of an Oscar nomination for that, the credit all went to his equally strong screenplay instead.

If you can handle the slow parts and keep your mind (and your eyes) open, "In the Bedroom" is an incredibly well-told story with dynamite acting. Family tragedy has never been so real and believable because Field gets you to know exactly where his characters are coming from. It's a treat when something so simple (less than $2M budget) can be so great.
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Another look at "In the Bedroom"
bobmartinrocks27 June 2008
I really liked "In the Bedroom" the first time I saw it. It's a movie with a monster who does not look like a monster. I recently watched the ending and appreciated the craft of the entire crew, especially the director in the choices he made. For me the movie is not about the crimes committed or who are your friends when times are bad, rather it's about that little monster that we have inside of us that when given the chance will choose for us to be and do unthinkable things.

There are a lot movies that I've seen that never warrant a second look, much less a third or fourth. That's because the director has played all of his/her cards right up front. Once you seen the movie once there is nothing else to see. With "In the Bedroom" I noticed the quiet, there was no constant music theme interrupting my thoughts. I noticed the performances of Wilkinson, Spacek and Marisa Tomei.. The Tomei role intrigued me. I remembered her best as Lisa Bonet cocky room mate in the first season of TV sitcom "A Different World". I noticed the crabs and the town, how there seemed be no diversity.

My second look, had me pay closer attention to monster, played with perfection by Sissy Spacek. Even in her mid fifties Sissy Spacek is cute and we all had cute monsters in our life. Monsters are things that a far more relentless then we are. Monsters get what they want, with out ever compromising. They are unreasonable, like Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" or Daniel Day-Lewis, in "There Will Be Blood". Movies where the monster wins leaves the audience dissatisfied, but will to go back and take another look. My most recent look got me paying attention to the scenery, how beautiful old towns, bay views, dense forest and sea ports are. That no matter how beautiful nature is, it is relentless and will get its way.
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Slow....very, very slow.....and unpleasant....but exceptional.
MartinHafer3 November 2013
"In the Bedroom" is a rather unpleasant and very slow film. I guarantee that many folks will not want to watch this film or will give up partway through it. This is because although the movie is exceptionally well made, it's also incredibly sad and its pace is like lead. Now this isn't really a complaint--just some reasonable observations about the film. So, keep this in mind before you decide to watch.

The film begins with a relationship that seems rather irrational and doomed. A married woman with children is getting a divorce. In the meantime, she's having a relationship with a young man who appears to be about 18 or perhaps 19. The woman (Marissa Tomei) is significantly older and the young man is supposed to be going off to college--and his mother (Sissy Spacek) naturally wants the young man to focus on school and not this still-married woman. Soon, the estranged husband returns and begins pressuring the wife to take him back--and he becomes very violent. The wife and the boyfriend are morons--they don't go to the police and the husband's behavior escalates until he murders the young man. All this occurs in the first third of the movie and the rest of the film consists of showing the parents (Spacek and Tom Wilkenson) dealing with their grief. Neither really talks about it and they internalize their pain and become distant from one another. However, rather unexpectedly, the movie takes a very drastic and violent turn at the end--one that is quite satisfying to see but which also is difficult to watch.

It's important to point this out, the portrayals of the parents coping with their grief is incredibly well done and realistic. But who wants to see this? Not most folks. In many ways it reminded me of "Rabbit Hole"--another amazingly well acted film about parental grief that is brilliant but difficult to watch. And, since most folks don't want to be THIS depressed, they're movies you should think twice about before you watch. Exceptional....and unpleasant.
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Disturbing and fascinating film
blanche-21 May 2008
"In the Bedroom" is a 2001 film that examines the ramifications of grief on a marriage. This was done in "Ordinary People" where the focus was really on the son and his coming to terms with a family tragedy. In "Damage," the focus is on a love affair that brings tragedy to a family. "In the Bedroom" is about two people, Ruth and Matt Fowler (Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson) dealing with unacceptable loss.

Their college-bound son Frank (Nick Stahl) is dating a separated and almost-divorced woman Natalie (Marisa Tomei) with two small children. She's older than he is, and her almost ex Richard (William Mapother) is violent, volatile and obsessed with her. He badly wants to reconcile. Frank's mother (Sissy Spacek) is disapproving of the union while his father (Tom Wilkinson) believes it's a summer fling and doesn't intrude. During an altercation with Richard, Frank is killed. Natalie, en route down the stairs at the time, doesn't see Richard pull out the gun, so Richard ends up looking at a manslaughter charge. When the Fowlers learn that the man who murdered their son won't get the punishment that is really due him, they are devastated.

Ruth, on leave from teaching music, sits on the couch all day watching TV and smoking cigarettes while Matt goes back to his practice as a doctor. The two basically stop speaking and interacting. When they finally have a confrontation, they each blame the other for Frank's death, Matt claiming Frank kept seeing Natalie to spite the controlling Ruth, and Ruth insisting that Matt gave his "approval" for the relationship because he and all his friends wanted the attractive Natalie and envied Frank his youth and "piece of ass." The air cleared, Ruth tells Matt what has been tormenting her; Matt wants to help.

"In the Bedroom" is primarily a character-driven story, something in these days of special effects that's not often seen today. One couldn't ask for better actors than Wilkinson, Spacek, Tomei and Mapother, as well as a strong supporting cast. Wilkinson is magnificent as a doctor whose calmness and acceptance of his usual daily and weekly activities, such as his poker game and visiting friends in their cabin hides a terrible anger and sorrow. There is no artifice to Wilkinson, no obvious acting "choices," just simple acting of the truth of a character so that it seems organic to him. If Wilkinson is calm, Spacek's Ruth is downright catatonic as she stares straight ahead at the television puffing her cigarettes, stiffly goes about her business in town and gives a friend a fake, bright smile when a woman talks about her grandchildren. Finally back to work, she puts on her earphones and listens to the music she is teaching her chorus, making notes, taking a second out to slap Natalie in the face when she comes to give her condolences. Then she quickly and deliberately goes back to her music, her expression never changing. It is one of the most powerful scenes in the film.

The film takes on different personas, which is perhaps a criticism - it's a light summer film about parents dealing with a young son's love affair, it's a tragic story of grief, and then it becomes black with horror. However, you'll never be bored, and the characters will keep you constantly fascinated.

"The bedroom" is part of a lobster trap - the explanation of this starts the film, which is filled with images - a bridgekeeper changing traffic direction, manipulating the bridge by running in circles - an idyllic cabin setting that takes on two meanings. It has been some weeks since I've seen it, but I can't shake the final scenes, particularly the last moments of the film. So very ordinary. It's haunted me ever since.
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A Lesson in Acting
Hitchcoc14 October 2009
This movie was so well done, I felt as if I were an outsider, looking through someone's window. Then the tragedy occurs, we were treated to what probably would have happened after a crime of passion, the imprecision of the evidence, the lack of a witness, and the ability of the perpetrator to avoid prosecution. Mostly the movie is about acting. Sissy Spacek is amazing, so tightly wound and in control. Her somewhat passive husband becomes her foil until the fuse is lit. Then it all comes to a head. I can't imagine living through something like this where your allies become so worthless. There is a scene where the prosecuting attorney jingles his change and looks at his watch while spouting a bunch of meaningless jargon about justice. The father goes catatonic while this is happening. Things play out like they do in life; there are no winners and no losers.
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Truly Stunning!
aisleseatconfirmed3 September 2008
Todd Field's IN THE BEDROOM is an artistic and realistic portrait of domestic trouble in small-town America. Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson star as Ruth and Matt Fowler, the parents of a recent high school graduate, Frank (Nick Stahl), who has an affair with a married woman, Natalie (Marisa Tomei). A tragic event near the beginning of the film seems to stunt its action and dialogue, allowing the film to change into a largely visual piece based on memories, feelings, and silent communication; while the film's slow-moving camera, soft sunny lighting, and cautious pacing give it a resonating intensity.

Set in coastal Maine, the Fowlers are a well-liked family with simple, straightforward values. Dr. Fowler has his own small medical practice. Mrs. Fowler directs the chorus at the high school. Frank is a good kid who is working on the fishing docks for the summer, waiting for college in the fall. Frank falls into a summer romance with Natalie, an older woman with two young sons and a creepy, lurking husband (William Mapother) from whom she is separated. The relationship is worrisome to Mr. and Mrs. Fowler, but they want to be supportive of their son so they gently nudge him to think about the bigger picture, without being overbearing. But when the unthinkable happens, Mr. and Mrs. Fowler come face to face with their worst nightmare. Quietly, calmly, and with the most logic they can muster, they begin a dark and dangerous psychological journey. The result, reinforced by stunning performances from Wilkinson and Spacek, is a pensive, penetrating, and utterly believable story.
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TheDiva80221 February 2002
I went to see this film with much anticipation, given the excellent reviews and Oscar nominations. While it is much better than most of the juvenile fluff out there, I don't understand the hype. The acting is solid, with Tom Wilkinson being exceptional among the cast. It was great to see Sissy Space again, but I found her character to have one emotional note throughout and her character's cigarette smoking was completely unnecessary and distracting. I find the positive comments about the cinematography odd, since I found myself paying attention to the camera angles too many times; if I notice, it's not subtle enough for my taste. My main complaint is that it was just too long.
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Tinlizzy4 January 2002
Why o why are movies today at least one hour too long?

There is nothing in this film that could not have been expressed better with fewer shots of Camden Maine's streetlights, harbor, or mannequins in shop windows. The pacing was absolutely even. Yes, this is like real life. But I don't go to the movies to see real life. I go to see good editing, good directing, good acting. At least the third part works.

The director manages to include just about every art-film cliche there is. What is it with the pretentious Bulgarian singing? Is it because it is as monotonous as the editing?

I was waiting for the slow motion double exposure shot. This predictably appeared late in the film. I was past all caring by then.

The actors play ordinary people and the acting (while technically good) shows its technique at every turn. People stand around and react to each other or show how tormented they are by little gestures. Everything takes much too long and there are precisely three scenes in which something actually HAPPENS.

It could have been much better than it was. As it was, it was physical torture. I have never looked at my watch more often during the course of a film. I didn't care about the characters and just wanted the thing to end. So did the audience.

Boring, boring, boring.
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Moving... Gripping... Perfect.
lwhalen-1818412 August 2018
Someone said earlier that this is not their favorite film, while being, however, perfect. I cannot disagree.

Sometimes the critical cliches involve the use of the words "moving,""gripping,""enthralling." While I have scoffed at these past descriptions, I have to stand in humility and say it is only because I had not seen a picture like this one. I was moved for days afterwards. This film has still not left my mind. It is powerful in so many ways.

Watch this movie. Now. You will only be able to watch it once. That is equally good and bad. You will see why.
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Excellent Movie
edinadental5 November 2017
In the Bedroom is an exceptional movie with great direction, superior screen writing, and a wonderful cast that includes:

Tom Wilkinson (Dr. Matt Fowler) Sissy Spacek (Ruth Fowler) Nick Stahl (Frank Fowler) Marisa Tomei (Natalie Strout) William Mapother (Richard Strout) Karen Allen has a minor role as the defense attorney, Marla Keyes

Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek deliver performances that make the viewer really feel the emotions experienced by the film's characters. The characters are married and must deal with a horrible tragedy.

The movie's scenes are mostly short "takes," but they work well, engaging the audience at a high level.
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quietly powerful
SnoopyStyle5 March 2016
Married couple Matt (Tom Wilkinson) and Ruth Fowler (Sissy Spacek) live in a small coastal community in Maine. Their only son Frank (Nick Stahl) returns in love with the older Natalie Strout (Marisa Tomei) who has two young sons. Her ex-husband Richard Strout (William Mapother) is angry and shoots Frank at the family home. The Strouts are an important family in the town and Richard gets bail. Natalie didn't actually see the shooting. Marla Keyes (Karen Allen) is the defense attorney.

The story is presented quietly. Nevertheless, the acting is overpowering. Tom Wilkinson is a rock crumbling before our eyes. Sissy Spacek is brilliant. Everybody is terrific. Other than a couple big emotions scenes, this movie is a study of quiet desperation. The forced smiles and the meaningless conversations hide the true intensity underneath the surface.
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