In the Bedroom - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

In the Bedroom Reviews

Page 1 of 54
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2009
Analogous title for a flm that deals with this state in various ways. Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, and Marisa Tomei shine in this dismal tale of devastation in a Maine lobster town.
First-time director Todd Field did a brilliant job portraying the loss, rage, and desire for revenge with the help of exceptional acting performances, and the observation of the taciturn anguish so readily available in our everyday lives.
Super Reviewer
½ March 16, 2009
An expertly crafted film concerning a family dealing with grief. Tom Wilkinson impresses yet again, in his most accomplished performance yet as a respected man of a small town in Maine who feels he must avenge the terrible act committed against his son. The performances are all top-notch, capped off with an arresting last thirty minutes of the movie that prove to be extremely well written and plotted. Although at times it appears to be a little too slow-moving, if you concentrate on the setting, characters, and how the story is told, you should be captivated.
Super Reviewer
February 24, 2009
This film is nigh perfect until 1/3 of the way through, when it starts trying too hard to portray the subtlety of a grieving family. The fights - while magnificently acted - are completely unmotivated. Ruth claims Matt never wanted to talk about the incident, but it's not as if she ever tried talking either. It's a cop-out to say that she is confused with grief and doesn't know what she's saying. Even so, the film would need more development to come to that realization. THEN the climax. Come on! Matt is not the killing kind, and the plan is full of holes! This film attempts a conscionable killing ala Woody Allen, but they neglect to properly build the motives, the atmosphere, and the aftermath.
Super Reviewer
November 7, 2006
Well done and great cast.
Super Reviewer
September 21, 2008
In The Bedroom, is a very strong ensemble cast of a film. Sissy Spacek, Marisa Tomei, and Tom Wilkinson.

The movie centers around a small town that has many secrets such as a younger man (Nick Stahl) having an affair with an older woman (Tomei) whom is married. Her hsuband is an abusive man and this tells a story of how all people deal with what is going on in the bedroom.....
Super Reviewer
½ April 27, 2008
Supposely this movie was nominated for best picture and I really dont know why cause it wasn't a big deal except the beauty of Marisa Tomei. When a film with such emotional resonance and visual poise as In the Bedroom makes it to the screen, it seems an unexpected gift meant to remind us of the medium's possibility for sensitivity and epiphany. First-time director Todd Field, who adapted the film from a story by Andre Dubus with screenwriter Rob Festinger, quietly observes the loss, rage, and inexorable desire for revenge that follows the murder of a 21-year-old son. The film opens with Frank (Nick Stahl), back from college for the summer, taking up with Natalie (Marisa Tomei), a slightly older, sexually alluring woman with two boys and an estranged husband prone to violence. It is the tender portrayal of love between Frank and his parents, even as Frank and Natalie's relationship reveals the prejudices of all involved, that makes the subsequent anguish of the film so acute. Matt and Ruth Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek), middle-class denizens of a Maine lobster town where everyone knows each other, toil through weeks of devastation and blame following Frank's murder before their outrage obliterates all else. Field's exact handling of jealousy, class division, and grief is abetted by career-highlight performances from Wilkinson and Spacek.
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2007
painstakingly real.
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2007
There are a couple of really powerful scenes, like that fucking slap. I love you, Marisa.
Super Reviewer
September 28, 2007
YAWN. This is one of those movies that slowly builds up and builds up and climaxes with...absolutely nothing. It has big names and so-called "great" acting but doesn't deliver at all. Inconsistent piece of crap.
Super Reviewer
August 20, 2006
One of the purest and most perfect films ever to be made. A real subtle look into the workings of an aging couple after tragedy strikes. The film boils with intense emotions without a single bubble coming to the surface. The performances and dialogue are restrained until the characters and audience can no longer take it. Heart pounding, grim and uneasy. Every scene is expertly crafted whether it be the lobster metaphor at the very beginning or the heart breaking scene as Wilkinson takes down a swing set. Stunning, real and quiet, a film that demands respect and deserves all it's praise.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2007
Dark story with superior acting. Sissy Spacek was robbed of the oscar for what is one of best performances.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2006
[font=Arial][color=darkred]'In the Bedroom' hits all the right notes of agonizing pain, devastation and loss. The heart of the film is on the grief encompassing Matt and Ruth Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek) over the loss of their son. The Fowlers are well regarded in their cozy New England town. Matt is a flourishing local doctor and Ruth teaches a chorus of local high school girls.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]'In the Bedroom' opens with Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl) chasing his older girlfriend Natalie (Marisa Tomei) across an open grassy field. Frank is a budding architecture student home for the summer and thinking of prolonging his time so he can stay together with Natalie. Frank and Natalie have a distinct age divide but also seem to have been given different lots in life. She has a pair of boys from her abusive husband Richard (William Mapother) that she is finalizing a divorce from. Richard is hopeful he can reconcile with Natalie if he just gets another chance, but Natalie is stern in her refusal.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Ruth sees the relationship as a detriment to her son's future. She's even more upset that Matt is so casual with their son dating an older, working-class mother.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Frank rushes over to calm Natalie after another of Richard's outbursts of violence has left her house in shambles. She rushes her children upstairs just as Richard returns back. He manages to sneak in through a back door and confronts Frank in their kitchen, shooting and killing him.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]What should seem like a clear-cut case begins to unspool. Natalie admits she didn't actually see the gun fire and the charges are dropped from murder to manslaughter. Richard is released on bail and free to stroll around occasionally bumping into the grieving and outraged Fowlers.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The majority of the film is the aftermath of the murder and the strain it puts upon Matt and Ruth and their marriage. Beforehand jealousy, anger, and bitterness would simply sit but slowly the tension begins to bubble to the surface. Ruth holds resentment and blames the leniency of Matt for the death of their son. Matt tries to get out of the house as much as possible, even if it means sitting in his car in their driveway at night.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]One of the most harrowing scenes of 'In the Bedroom' is also its emotional and acting centerpiece. After the mounting frustration with justice, Ruth and Matt explode into an argument that had slowly been building long before their son's death. This is the first time they have truly talked about the whole situation and accusations fly like bullets in their first emotional confrontation.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]'In the Bedroom' could have easily fallen into the area of sticky made-for-TV land, but the exceptional performances all around by the cast and the deft and studied direction never allow it to falter.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Spacek ('Carrie', 'Coal Miner's Daughter') can begin writing her Oscar acceptance speech right now. Her portrayal of Ruth displays the pride and seething anger, but keeps her human throughout. She exhibits pure, raw emotion that strikes directly inside you leaving a knot in your stomach and in your throat. Her performance is truly breathtaking and so emotionally visceral to watch.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Wilkinson ('The Full Monty', 'The Patriot') plays Matt with passive-aggressive doubt and repression. He dominates in any scene he is in and takes the audience on a wide range of emotions. He has a commanding presence and compliments Spacek's Ruth nicely.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Perhaps the greatest thing Tomei ('My Cousin Vinny', 'Slums of Beverly Hills') was known for was miraculously winning an Oscar and dumbfounding a nation. With 'In the Bedroom' she is given the ubiquitous "And" credit at the end of the opening cast list. She has less to work with and less screen time to work it, fully earning the "And"' credit she has.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Todd Field is an actor-turned-director and has appeared in such a wide array of films from 'Ruby in Paradise' to 'Twister' to 'Eyes Wide Shut'. Field has layered his film with rich symbolism and an intelligent, patient pace. Most of the action in movies is centered on what is going on in a scene, but the most telling moments of 'In the Bedroom' are what are not going on in the scenes. Field creates such an intimate portrait that the camera almost turns into another character, catching the lingering silences and the burgeoning inner turmoil. Field also adapted the screenplay from a short story by Andre Dubus, whom he dedicates the film to.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]'In the Bedroom' is not going to be for everyone. Some will find it slow and some might even find it boring. As it stands, it is a powerful film on the study of loss that grips you and refuses to let go. You will feel all the blame, jealousy, anger, and pain of this family and for such emotions to resonate from the screen to the audience is a great achievement.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: A[/color][/font]
Super Reviewer
February 29, 2012
In the Bedroom is unlike any drama I have ever seen, it starts off looking like a romance film but soon its true colors form about 30 minutes into the movie. This movie really focuses on the nature of revenge and grief of a loved one, and I had to ask my question "what would I do if my child was murdered and nobody did anything about it?" In this life we are always faced with challenges like grief and there are different ways we can deal with it, like drinking or blaming it on others and this film shows a nature of humanity that I have never seen. But another pure beauty this film has is the characters and the performances from the cast that plays them. Sissy Spacek plays (in my opinion) the best performance of her whole career, she is every mother who loves her child and seeing that pain she goes through is just sad and we pity her. Tom Wilkinson is every father who tought his son the ways of life and how a father and son have a bond like no other, and every scene where he had to talk about his son was just so painful. What makes this story so effective is that we get to know these characters before he is killed, they are typical parents and he is their son with a dilemma of fating a older woman with a ex-husband who is insane, and that is what catches the eye of a true film lover. The last 30 minutes of this film were incredible in my opinion, it picks up its slow pace and things truly get intense and I loved it. In the Bedroom is one of the most effective dramas I have ever seen, it works in so many ways that it just catches the audience with the twist of events that occur and it does not become a romance, but a tragedy. I loved this film and it deserved all the praise it was given.
RJ Smoove
Super Reviewer
½ June 14, 2010
2002 Best Picture and Screenplay nominee In The Bedroom is a perfectly scripted story about a normal American family in a small town that suffers through an extraordinary tragedy. The story is very tight and focused on the family, and that allows us as viewers to fully grasp the sincerity needed by the actors to pull of their performances. Tom Wilkinson is an underrated (for lack of a better term) gem in this industry. His portrayal of a father in a terrible situation, Matt Fowler, was spot on, not that I would know. Sissy Spacek was also great as his wife, Ruth. The two of them were fantastic, and well deserving of the Oscar nominations they received. The other Oscar nominated performance was Marissa Tomei as Natalie. I've never been a fan of hers, but I have to admit she was brilliant.

This is a sad story, I won't summarize for fear of spoiling something. What I will say is that it's not the most entertaining film, so patience is required to sit through it. But once you do, you'll be blown away with the quality of work these people put together.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2014
"As the snow flies on a cold and gray Chicago mornin', a poor little baby child is born in the..." Oh my, well, that song reference just about took quite the uncomfortable twist, partly because it would spark up the controversies surrounding when an embryo's life begins. Ouch, now abortion is a strong subject to just up and toss out there, but really, people, it's about as harsh as this film's subject matter, which isn't quite as fun as the title would lead you to believe. Granted, the short story on which this film is based is titled "Killings", but outside of that, it's kind of hard to tell just how dark this film will be, unless, of course, you look at who is attached to this project. Sissy Spacek sure does know her way around an unnerving character drama, and as for the director, Todd Field, he always looks like he's kind of angry about something. Oh, he's probably just upset because he looks like some kind of a botched fusion of James McAvoy and Liam Neeson... and because he was in "Eyes Wide Shut", speaking of "in the bedroom", if you know what I mean. Man, I can't even humor "Eyes Wide Shut" with some lame "wink" type of joke (Winking; how about one eye wide shut, Stanley Kubrick? There's another one), so Field should probably stick with making films about lust rather than being in them, because this is an actually pretty intense drama... sometimes, when it's not being blanded up by conventions, alone.

There are inspired aspects here and there throughout this film, yet there are also plenty of borderline glaring lazy aspects, particularly within the originality factor, for even Thomas Newman's score is a touch too trite for its own good, and outside of that, this plot follows trope, after trope, after trope, with conventional characterization, until standing as hopelessly predictable. Now, I'd be a little more willing to get over that if the story wasn't too familiar for its own good partly because it's too realist for its own good, in that it draws overly grounded characters with overly grounded conflicts which are too minimalist in structure to open all that much potential for intrigue, and when it actually attempts to beef up, it tries a touch too hard. The film has some distancing melodramatic, or at least feels as though it does because of expository shortcomings, which not only limit the background development to characters who are thin enough overall, but undercook motivations for conflicts that are, of course, so important in this ensemble character drama, making it even harder to buy into potentially intriguing subject matter. Still, no matter how underdeveloped, this film takes its time to drag its feet something awful in order to achieve its very unreasonable runtime of about around 130 minutes, with meandering material and monotonous excess in filler that begin to lose a sense of progression, gradually losing momentum that, of course, falls all the quicker as pacing grows slower behind a dry directorial approach. Despite having a certain thoughtfulness to its coldness, Todd Field's naturalist directorial approach is just about the last thing a film this thin and structurally meandering needs, as it quiets things down something fierce to meditate upon nothing going on, until the film finds itself devolving into blandness, then continuing to fall until it hits dullness, and, well, even flirts with tedium. When the thoughtful direction bites, it really does sink its teeth into you, but it's generally rather misguided in its cold take on heated material that is still not intense enough for you to forgive all of the predictability, underdevelopment and repetitious structure that ultimately secure the final product as underwhelming. Still, as misguided as this film is, it finds its path enough time to endear, and do justice to a story worthy of a more realized interpretation.

A study on how a family struggles with coping after a tragedy befalls someone who intervened in someone else's family conflicts, this film's story concept is a little too familiar in the dramatic film industry, as well as too recognizable from real life to have all that much theatrical momentum, not helped by more dramatic minimalism than you might expect from looking at the broad synopsis, but it's still worthy, dramatically and thematically, as a portrait on the shaky depths of humanity that Todd Field takes with thoughtfulness, and too much of it. Field's steady storytelling is simply too steady for its own good, being somberly bone-dry, and even stylistically flat, so as cruel irony would have it, it's Field's ambitious steadiness which secures the final product's underwhelmingness through dullness, although such dullness might simply derive from Field's having only so much material to draw upon with his thoughtfulness, because when the script presents Field with the opportunity, his atmosphere nips, sometimes bites. Well, maybe the bites are much more occasional than that, as there is so much minimalism to material and coldness to storytelling, but make no mistake, there are effective moments here that are worth waiting for, once Field's efforts as co-writer with Robert Festinger present segments to latch onto. Formulaic, underdeveloped, overlong and even uneven, once it departs from a first act that features prominent characters and subplots which are jarringly ripped from the layered drama, Field's and Festinger's script is, well, something of a mess, and yet, if its directorial inspiration was a little more colorful, then the script could have perhaps driven the final product to, or at least close to a rewarding point, as there's still plenty of believable wit to the dialogue, as well as memorable characters who are not all that well-developed, but remain well-drawn enough to be reasonably worthy. Indeed, it does ultimately come down to the character aspects of this drama, because as the flat style, steady direction and sparse writing ought to reflect, this drama isn't about too much more than mere intimacy to very human conflicts, and while it often slips up even that department, when the characterization is meaty, the film is particularly endearing. Of course, it might not so much be that meat to characterization that sells the drama's most effective moments, as much as it's the selling of the characterization through the performances in a solid cast which, of course, has little to work with in this blandly minimalist affair, but still has the brightest highlights, with Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson particularly standing out in their subtly intense, when not powerfully emotive portrayals of good, older people whose relationship and individual humanity go challenged by an overwhelming tragedy that parents should not have to face. Quite frankly, the film starts out kind of promising with its thoughtfulness, but once you get used to its formula, it only loses momentum more and more, until sputtering out very much short of rewarding, yet well before it slips into mediocrity, it is secured as decent as more than a few highlights in storytelling that endear, despite the misguidedness.

In conclusion, the story is bland enough in its minimalism, without the conventionalism, expository shortcomings, exhaustingly overdrawn and sparse plotting, and dully cold atmosphere that slowly, but surely, drive a promising drama into underwhelmingness, challenged enough by effective moments to thoughtful direction and writing, and by strong performances, to do enough justice to an intriguing story that makes "In the Bedroom" an endearing and sometimes effective drama, even with its shortcomings.

2.5/5 - Fair
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2013
Wow! What an ending. Of course I would never do something stupid like revealing it. Tom Wilkinson is the real star of this absolutely gripping drama. These are real everyday people trying to grips with things beyond their control.
Super Reviewer
½ June 11, 2011
Not as moving or thought provoking as Field's Little Children, In the Bedroom is still a well done, authentic drama, albeit with a very slow pace. Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson are both excellent, and definitely make up for any weaknesses of the film.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2009
This is most likely one of the best dramas ever made. Career performances from the whole cast. This is not a slow film, your just most likely not into a Dramatic type of movie.

See, I enjoy dramas, that is why I liked this film. If you like Jackass, or The Ringer, this isn't the film for you.
Super Reviewer
½ November 21, 2009
A tension-building film with great performances that certainly does not disappoint.
Super Reviewer
½ October 26, 2009
Todd Field' bare bones total realism approach to the material is the best thing about this film. In this hands of a lesser director the material could have been sensationalized, but he wisely downplays most of the action. The performances are really amazing, particularly Tom Wilkinson who proves here why he is one of the best actors alive today.
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