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Expertly crafted and performed, In the Bedroom is a quietly wrenching portrayal of grief. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Summertime on the coast of Maine, "In the Bedroom" centers on the inner dynamics of a family in transition. Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) is a doctor practicing in his native Maine and is married to New York born Ruth Fowler (Sissy Spacek), a music teacher. He is involved in a love affair with a local single mother (Marisa Tomei). As the beauty of Maine's brief and fleeting summer comes to an end, these characters find themselves in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.

Cast & Crew

Sissy Spacek
Ruth Fowler
Tom Wilkinson
Matt Fowler
Nick Stahl
Frank Fowler
Marisa Tomei
Natalie Strout
William Mapother
Richard Strout
William Wise
Willis Grinnel
Celia Weston
Katie Grinnel
Karen Allen
Marla Keyes
Andre Dubus
Writer (Short Story)
Ted Hope
Executive Producer
Ross Katz
Producer
John Penotti
Executive Producer
Antonio Calvache
Cinematographer
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News & Interviews for In the Bedroom

Critic Reviews for In the Bedroom

All Critics (139) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (129) | Rotten (10)

Audience Reviews for In the Bedroom

  • Mar 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
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Nov 04, 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.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 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.
    Bradley W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2012
    This is a drama about a young man who has a summer romance with an older, newly divorced mother. The subplot is about the young man's parents and the strain a tragedy puts on their marriage.
    Juli R Super Reviewer

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