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Movie Reviews

In The Bedroom  

With the year slowly wrapping to a close, it was such a treat to watch “In the Bedroom”. In what turned out to be an okay year, “In the Bedroom” turns up the heat on the competition for the film abounds with such emotion and subdued tension. I’m surprised the reel didn’t break.

Set in the lobster farmlands of Maine, “In the Bedroom” tells the tale of a family wrecked by guilt and regrets. Matt and Ruth Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek) are a well-to-do couple, with his medical practice and her choral classes. Their only child Frank (Nick Stahl) is back home for the summer, preparing for graduate school. During his stay, Frank meets Natalie (Marisa Tomei), a single mom of two young boys and who is separated from an abusive ex. Matt and Ruth have grown fond of Natalie, especially her two adorable sons, but they are just concerned about her former husband, Richard (William Mapother). With his known outbreaks of violence, they wonder if Frank should be going out with her. And as the summer comes to a close, what used to be a serene household is tragically altered into a somber abode.

“In the Bedroom” reaches the same emotional impact as Robert Redford’s “Ordinary People”, without being over sentimental. “In the Bedroom” was directed and co-written by Todd Field, who I remember more notably in Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut” as the piano playing, password giving Nick Nightingale. What he has done with this film is truly remarkable. It is rife with such genuine humanity ranging from the sweetness of love to the dark depths of vengeance. He perfectly captures the contrast of a silent storm brewing against the tranquil backdrop of Maine.

Two of the best performances by far this year have got to be those of Spacek’s and Wilkinson’s. Their characters have so much bottled up emotions, that playing them could easily be made too transparent. Fortunately, we have these two fine actors to do the part, by adding subtlety and sincerity. There is already tremendous buzz for Sissy Spacek, and I’m pretty sure that her name will be mentioned when they announce the nominations for Best Actress. However, I thought Tom Wilkinson’s performance was even more remarkable as the father. I really do hope he won’t get overlooked. Stahl is great as Frank, and so is Mapother as the maniacal ex. It is also nice to see the underrated Marisa Tomei in a good and substantial role.

Last year, we had a great family affairs film called “You Can Count On Me”. Although a bit more on the film noir side, “In the Bedroom” is a riveting drama about regular human beings thrusted into a distressing situation.

Film is Rated R for violence and language. Running time is 130 minutes.

4 out of 5


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