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 In the Bedroom 

What grade would you give this film?
A 31%  31%  [ 4 ]
B 38%  38%  [ 5 ]
C 23%  23%  [ 3 ]
D 8%  8%  [ 1 ]
F 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 13

 In the Bedroom 
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Post In the Bedroom
In the Bedroom


In the Bedroom is a 2001 American film directed by Todd Field, and dedicated to Andre Dubus, whose short story Killings is the source material on which the screenplay, by Field and Robert Festinger, is based. The film stars Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei and William Mapother.

On its release the film was internationally praised for its direction, script, and performances, possessing a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 100 percent rating among the "Cream of the Crop" critics. It went on to become the highest grossing non-IMAX film in history to never reach the top 10 in a given week.

With the exception of Napoleon Dynamite, In the Bedroom had the largest box office of any film premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in the last decade.

A.O. Scott included the film in his The New York Times Magazine essay "The most important films of the past decade — and why they mattered."

The film was nominated for the following Academy Awards:

Best Picture
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published
Actor in a Leading Role (Wilkinson)
Actress in a Leading Role (Spacek)
Actress in a Supporting Role (Tomei)

Sat Jun 11, 2005 10:03 pm
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Of the five films nominated, this is the best picture of the year., 13 March 2002

*** This comment may contain spoilers ***

Warning: Does contain major spoilers. If you have not seen the film, go see it first and read this review later. This is one of the best films you will see this year.

In a year when I would have to say that my choices for best pictures and performances have varied enormously from those in charge, I am happy to report that this is one film that deserves all the praise it has received. This should be the cynosure of the Oscar's this year.

2001 has not been a strong year for films. The summer mostly disappointed and most of the films being lionized as great films in the Oscar hunt are just charlatans, a wolf in sheep's clothing, they are nostrums that have fooled everyone into thinking they are something they are not. While I don't mean to slander any one particular film, it has to be mentioned that A Beautiful Mind, The Royal Tenenbaums, Ali, The Majestic and especially Gosford Park (and a few others that were supposed to be lavished with Oscar nominations) have all failed to impress. And although I really believe Ron Howard is a great director, his film and his direction are not the worthy recipients this year. And if everything goes the way it is all shaping up, this is going to Ron Howard's year to join that fraternity which include members like Robert Redford, Spielberg, Stone, Zemekis, Eastwood and Attenborough, just to name a few. That's going to be a shame because Todd Field's In The Bedroom, is a much more honest and complete film that blesses us, the audience with perfect performances by every single player involved. If I had it my way, I would give Tom Wilkinson best actor, Marisa Tomei best supporting actress and Sissy Spacek best actress. Even the secondary supporting characters are brilliant in this multi-layered film. It is unfortunate that a terrible film like Gosford Park has garnered so much attention to it's acting because this is the film that has the best performances of the year, hands down.

In the Bedroom is a story that takes it's time telling us what it is really about. It's not that it is misleading but that the characters are given every opportunity to show us who they are and why they feel the way they do. The first act of the film ( and there are three equally powerful acts) is about an apparent summer fling that Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl) claims he is having with an older, soon to be divorced, mother of two, played by Marisa Tomei. Whether the relationship is not serious the way Frank tells it or if it is heading to a much more earnest area is something that Frank is not really ready to admit yet. But as they say, actions speak louder than words.

Frank is a bit of a looker and has never had trouble obtaining girlfriends before but his interest in Natalie is never really clear to his mother (Sissy Spacek). His father, Dr. Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) is a little more understanding. He is more laid back and decides to let his son either make his own mistakes or at least make his own decisions. Frank's mom is slightly more rigid. She doesn't come right out and say it at first but in her eyes, her son is committed to college in the fall, so why not just break off the relationship right now before he ruins his life by falling in love with a girl who is clearly not right for him ( in his mother's eyes). She is a bit of a controlling person and that has never escaped his son's eyes. That is why he chooses to talk to his dad more often about issues of the heart. His mother just wants to impose her will upon him most of the time so what is the point in telling her anything?

Making matters worse is the fact that Natalie's ex-husband is still in town and he wants her back. At first it seems their conversations are not necessarily pleasant, but they are not violent. He clearly doesn't like the fact that she has shacked up with a younger man, but then again, who would?

Soon after things take a turn for the violent worst and this is where the film really surprised me. After Frank is killed while in a scuffle with Richie Strout (William Mopother), I was wondering where the film could possibly go from here. The first third of this film had me so galvanized, so intimate with what was happening that I honestly felt that in some strange ways there was a vicariousness to the situation. You knew the characters so well that when the violence erupts, I was saddened to lose that character in the film. He didn't seem like a character, it felt as though he was someone that you knew. Maybe he wasn't your best friend but he could have been a neighbour. So when the first act ended, I was nervous. I kept asking myself how the film was going to maintain it's hold on me.

The second act of the film is how Dr. and Mrs. Fowler deal with the death of their son. And again, I was effusive with how the film took me along for the ride. I think in most instances, many film makers would have the proclivity to take this film down a completely different road. That is what I was fearing here. But not only does it not happen, but it gets us deeper and deeper into the understanding of how Dr. and Mrs. Fowler relate to one another and how they deal with this tragic event that has encompassed them. So powerful is the complete analytical deconstruction of both characters that in a span of perhaps sixty seconds I was laughing hoarsely and then sobbing silently and uncontrollably. It is an emotional see saw battle and there have been very few films that have been as honest as this one. I don't want to say much more because this is one of the true ineffable joys of the film. If you are reading this review and have not seen the film, I strongly urge you to do so. Ignore all of the nay-sayers that claim this is boring or shallow, they know not what they say.

The third and final act is one that you can see coming in the second act. It is not so much an act of revenge but more of a reckoning. If the court system would have dealt with this the way they should, then perhaps the Fowler's wouldn't feel compelled to become vigilantes. But that is what it has come down to. And another perfect example of how this film is so much better than other films that have similar subject matters is in some of the small details. For example, Ruth (Mrs. Fowler) has the unfortunate and gut wrenching privilege of seeing Richard around town. She sees him on the street, she sees him downtown and on one occasion she sees him in a convenience store. Their eyes meet and he looks ashamed. He looks embarrassed. In other films, he would have smiled at her or winked and showed a complete lack of feeling. This is a perfect scene and shows how much of a grasp Todd Field has on his characters. Another perfect scene is when the Fowler's are arguing about some very weighty issues and they are then interrupted by a Girl Guide selling candy. Why wouldn't they be?

In the Bedroom is, in my opinion, the second best film to come out of 2001. I would rate Vanilla Sky slightly better but there is part of me that even questions my logic behind that. If I had it my way, the best picture nominations would have included Vanilla Sky, In The Bedroom, Lord of the Rings, Memento and Mulholland Drive or maybe Legally Blond ( I have eclectic tastes ). But since I don't have a vote, I will just say that In The Bedroom is the best character piece I have seen since perhaps Tequila Sunrise. Tom Wilkinson and every actor involved in this piece is at the top of his/her game. I highly recommend this film. It is brilliant from the opening sweeping shot of the Atlantic Ocean to the closing credits. And the last shot is the epitome of perfection. There would not be a better way to end this film.

10 out of 10---The best picture of the year, in the five that are nominated.

Brick Tamland: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.
Ron Burgundy: Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.

Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:27 pm
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An amazing, utterly honest picture.

Wonderful performances from Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek. Marisa Tomei is also impressive.


Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:58 pm
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Libs wrote:
An amazing, utterly honest picture.

Wonderful performances from Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek. Marisa Tomei is also impressive.


Well said, I agree completely.


Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:00 pm
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This movie makes me wonder more why out of all the five best picture nominees, they would give the award to A beautiful Mind???

Moulin Rouge was the best movie that year, but this is a close second, even if it's somewhat on the depressing side. Great performances all around.



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Wed Jun 15, 2005 3:41 pm
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Ok, I'll have to say I thought this movie was slightly overrated. Yes, it's good, but I didn't think it was that good. I know it's supposed to be about grief and silence and what's unsaid, but I thought it was a little too slow and boring. Of the five nominated films for best picture that year, I liked it the least. The acting is good, of course. Wilkinson was the standout and it was nice to see Spacek and Tomei finally get some good roles again.

I do think the characters and their quest for revenge is far more sympathetic than someone like Sean Penn in Mystic River. Obviously there wasn't any question about the murderer's guilt. I do think it was a bit unbelievable that Tomei's ex-husband could actually go free, but I guess the filmmakers had to create drama somehow. My grade: B.

Thu Jun 16, 2005 6:24 pm
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This one is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I could relate to the film a lot. Recently one of my friends got run over by a drunk driver and justice never really did anything about it. I could feel for the family with that part of the story. The performances were especially wonderful. Then comes the stupid, ridiculous and abrupt ending. The guy must have has zero brains to go off on revenge like that. Even though the court system would probably do little to serve justice with the crime the man did, he still shouldn't have done it, it's just plain stupidity. When he came to the guy that murdered his son and he said he was going to get him out of there so him and his wife didn't need to deal with the trial, I could understand why he'd want to do that but I found it stupid. I started getting really disappointed. Then he shot him, then I was just confused because he just had no brains. IN THE BEDROOM could have been a great film if it stayed with the story about the court system screwing them over basically. It got really dumb and boring after about an hour and fifteen minutes. It really disappointed me. With the first 75 minutes, it was probably one of my favorite films, then the stupid ending came it and completely ruined the film for me.

6/10 (B-)

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Wed Aug 03, 2005 4:55 am
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Just finally saw this last week. A-. I interpret the ending as one that shows just how scary Sissy Spacek's character is to Tom Wilkinson, that he would do such a deed just to appease her.

Wed Aug 03, 2005 3:36 pm
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Terrific acting and a great mood kept throughout the film. It also felt very real. No fake, overdramatic hollywood crap. This was the real deal to reacting to your son's murder. Well done.


PEACE, Mike ;)

Wed Aug 03, 2005 7:58 pm
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Fantastic acting all around and a third act cant really get better then the one in this film, very tense. Though the beginning is quite slow i'd say.

Grade - B

"People always want to tear you down when you're on top, like Napoleon back in the Roman Empire" - Dirk Diggler

Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:51 am
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MikeQ. wrote:
Terrific acting and a great mood kept throughout the film. It also felt very real. No fake, overdramatic hollywood crap. This was the real deal to reacting to your son's murder. Well done.


PEACE, Mike ;)

Definitely the real deal.

The acting is awesome as is the writing and directing.


Sat Aug 26, 2006 3:00 pm
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What's the ~other~ thing you do - In The Bedroom?

:sleeping: :sleeping: :sleeping:

Actually, the movie 'In The Bedroom' wasn't all that bad, although I haven't seen half the audience walk out of a film in quite some time...

Pacing was... glacial?, stoic?, stately?, perhaps repressed, just like the character's emotions? Something super-dramatic happens every half hour or so, followed by the character's quietly going about their day-to-day business - I found it kind of hypnotizing - and this was certainly enhanced by the almost complete abscence of a music soundtrack; you get so used to music in movies, that it feels really stark without...

Anyways, this review is turning out about as exciting as the movie - but again, I'd like to emphasize that it wasn't all that bad, and did have relevant things to (slowly) say about marriage and families...

3 out of 5.

Sat Aug 26, 2006 3:26 pm
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I thought it was overrated when I saw it, though I was like 11 then, so it obviously wasn't for me. I'll refrain from judging it for now.

Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:53 am
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One of the most meticulously crafted films I've ever seen, and in a lot of ways one of only a handful I've seen that I could honestly say to anyone is a work of art. If your lucky, the film you're watching will have a few scenes that really stay with you afterwards. For me, there was hardly a single moment in the film that has left me. There's so many ways the film could have gone into Hollywood trite, and at every turn it instead is honest and provocative. I feel like I could talk about this film for hours - if I could have a commentary on a new edition of the film's DVD, it might take at least two or three for me to really lay out all my thoughts about it. A+

Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:40 am
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Beautifully crafted film. The acting is really exceptional all around (especially Wilkinson, who completely carried the thrilling third act). It's one of the most convincing films to be released in a very long time...


Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:17 am
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I wasn't too fond of this one. Maybe my expectations were just high, maybe I just expected something different. Certainly, the movie was very realistic. It's never overly dramatic, always keeping the happenings down-to-earth and ,ow-key. The acting is very solid on the whole, though I feel that Tomei didn't really deserve her Oscar nod and Spacek's work was overrated. Tom Wilkinson, however, really stood out to me. Great turn, great role. He mostly impressed me during the second half of the film.

Now to the ending...unlike many posters here, but was my favorite part of the movie. I thought the things wrapped up just the way they were heading and the final part with Wilkinson arriving home, with doubts and uncertainty about what he has done was my favorite in the entire film. The scenes in which Wilkinson and Spacek act opposite each other are superb too.

I must say, though, that in the first half it was simply moving too slow for my taste and despite a characters build-up, I simply never felt for any of them, except for Wilkinson at the end. I didn't feel sory or sad when the son was killed...for the most part, this well-acted and technically well-executed movie left me feel empty. I thought that Little Children was a far better effort by Field.

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Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:44 pm
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