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    In the Bedroom

    I've got a "bed" feeling about this

    The air of impending doom is palpable in the superbly acted and uncompromising "In the Bedroom."


    The portent in "In the Bedroom" is heavy, scary stuff. It hangs over Todd Field's film like a specter, like a dark cloud gathering momentum, intensifying, ready to unleash its terrible violence on the pastoral, lobster-trapping community of Camden, Maine, at any moment.

    Directed by: Todd Field.
    Written by: Robert Festinger, Todd Field, Andre Dubus.
    Cast: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, William Mapother, William Wise, Celia Weston, Karen Allen, Frank T. Wells, W. Clapham Murray, Justin Ashforth, Terry A. Burgess, Jonathan Walsh, Diane E. Hamlin, Camden Munson..

    Related links: All of David N. Butterworth's reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
    It's already there in the film's opening scene, as a young couple frolic in the grass. Frank (Nick Stahl) is a college boy, home for the summer; Natalie (Marisa Tomei) is a not-quite-divorced mother of two young boys. Frank tells his mother (played by Sissy Spacek, who just took the Golden Globe for her work here) that it's "a summer thing" but Ruth Fowler fears it's something more.

    There's the age difference, for one thing, and those boys — how are they going to feel when Frank flies off to graduate school at summer's end? Ruth's husband ("The Full Monty"'s Tom Wilkinson) agrees. But he's a passive sort, and he never has that conversation with his son.

    You know it's only a matter of time before something terrible, something violent happens. When it does, the thunderclouds open as threatened but the portent remains to the end: how are those left with the grief and the guilt going to deal with this?  

    The specter in question grows to unfathomable proportions every time Natalie's volatile almost-ex husband shows up; you know it's only a matter of time before something terrible, something violent happens. When it does happen the thunderclouds open as threatened but the portent remains to the very end: how are those left with the grief and the guilt going to deal with this?

    Actor-turned-director Field brings out the very best in his performers. You expect emotionally powerful acting from the classy Spacek, but you don't necessarily expect it from Wilkinson and Tomei. (Look for all three to figure at this year's Oscar ceremony; Tomei might finally lay to rest the criticism that her statuette for "My Cousin Vinny" was a fluke.) "Bully"'s Stahl and William Mapother (as the jealous, destructive Richard Strout) are also impressive here.

    The film unfolds slowly, perhaps a little too slowly in places, and the denouement feels a little abrupt after all that buildup, but "In the Bedroom" is nevertheless a powerful, disturbing film that showcases the talents of some exceptional performers, as well as those of an up-and-coming writer/director in Todd Field.

    JANUARY 24, 2002

    Reader comments on In the Bedroom:

  • Father McCaslin   from Stephen, May 8, 2002
  • In the Bedroom   from AC, Aug 28, 2002
  • oh god, did this movie suck!   from beth, Mar 2, 2003
  • sean penn wasn't in this movie   from mike Quintero><br> , Jul 1, 2003
  • Re: sean penn wasn't in this movie   from Alyssa, Oct 3, 2003
  • Very natural   from Christian Dacanay, Dec 5, 2003
  • Very understandable reaction in film.   from Tony Loring, Mar 25, 2007
  • [no subject]   from caitlin, Dec 3, 2006

  • Post a comment on "In the Bedroom"