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In the Bedroom

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: In the Bedroom

Starring: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek
Director: Todd Field
Rated: R
RunTime: 130 Minutes
Release Date: December 2001
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Nick Stahl, William R. Mapother, Karen Allen, Marisa Tomei, William Wise, Celia Weston

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Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

This devastating, incisive, intimate drama offers an indelible portrait of parents whose only child is brutally murdered. Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson play Ruth and Matt Fowler whose son (Nick Stahl), an architecture student, is fatally shot by the enraged, estranged husband of the much older single mother (Marisa Tomei) he is dating. With the unrepentant killer (William Mopother, Tom Cruise's cousin) roaming free on bail in their small town of Camden in rural Maine, their lives are in torment. First-time writer/director Todd Fields - who is better known as an actor in "Eyes Wide Shut" and TV's "Once and Again" - elicits Oscar-caliber performances from his entire cast while allowing the story to unfold, perhaps slowly, but with sensitive deliberation as Matt, a physician, stifles his outrage as he tries to maintain his practice while Ruth, who is furious that her son was ever involved with such an inappropriate woman, continues to lead the school choir. Once a close and loving couple, they're burdened with the silence of unsubsiding sorrow and anger as they're forced to re-examine their relationship not only to each other but to a society in which criminals can evade legal punishment. The dynamics of their emotional turmoil are multi-layered, often based in the juxtaposition of upper-middle class versus working-class values, and this is the type of film you can see twice, re-hearing the early dialogue as it's tinged with poignant, new meaning. The title, for example, surfaces first as a description of a trap in a lobster boat and then takes on new significance, just as the vengeance theme - after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11th - takes on a realistic relevance. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "In the Bedroom" is an artistic, powerfully evocative 10 - one of the best pictures of 2001.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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