In The Bedroom Review
Bleak and unsettling in its familial depictions, In The Bedroom deals with anger and pain amidst tragedy, and has garnered critical acclaim and five Oscar nominations. Based in a small town in Maine, the story tells of typical family The Fowlers. The father Matt (Englishman Tom Wilkinson) runs his own town doctor's surgery, and his wife Ruth (Sissy Spacek) leads the town's school choir. Their only son Frank (Nick Stahl) is an intelligent and likeable young man debating whether to venture off into college. The stumbling block for Frank is his relationship with older woman Natalie (Marisa Tomei), who has two children and is involved in a frustrating separation with her husband Richard (William Mapother). Richard resents his wife cavorting with a 'college kid', and refuses to accept the marriage is over. Frank's parents are very understanding on this issue. They try their best to show acceptance to Natalie, and they even welcome Richard to their house when he gatecrashes their parties. Deep in her heart, Ruth would rather Frank exhausted his indulgence in Natalie and concentrate on college, but Matt ultimately observes that as long as their son is happy, then why should they argue? However, as Nick's relationship with Natalie continues, events turn to tragedy.
In The Bedroom was based on a story by the late Andre Dubas. Considering the fact that the film is directed with patience and assurance, one would be surprised to learn that it is from a director who has been slowly gaining experience on the side of his acting career. Todd Field, best known as the man who played the suspicious Nick Nightingale in Kubrick's final Eyes Wide Shut, suggests with In The Bedroom that a career as a writer/director seems the more glorious life for him, as the film is excellent drama for the most part. All of the performances in the film are magnificent. Tom Wilkinson, best known for his role in The Full Monty, gives Matt Fowler the perfect touch of reasonability, despite his best intentions for his son which could cause an inner-conflict within his thoughts. Sissy Spacek, in a fantastic return to her mid-seventies to early-eighties superstar form, delivers a calm and yet almost raging performance as Ruth, a woman who loves her son and yet cannot ease off the reigns of his life. As Frank himself, Nick Stahl has charm and a youthful naivete that we all can relate to, and Marisa Tomei is perfectly rendered as an older object-of-desire, and she has added experience over Frank. William Mapother, Tom Cruise's cousin, has such an unredeemable quality to him as Richard that you are fearful of him even when he is being nice, almost as if he is permanently existing in a dangerous state of mind.
Todd Field packs the narrative with pain and drawn-out anguish, forcing the audience to seek out an area of comfort that seemingly is never found. Even at the film's conclusion, when satisfaction appears to have been achieved, it feels deliberately anti-climatic, as if the holes that have been ripped into the character's hearts can never, ever be repaired. The audience is given a glint of this at the film's introduction, where we witness the eerie sounds of grass blowing in the wind as Frank and Natalie confess their love for each other, which is almost drowned in an unknown tragic innocence.
As powerful as it is painful, In The Bedroom is fully deserving of its Oscar nominations (Best Picture, Best Actor - Tom Wilkinson, Best Actress - Sissy Spacek, Best Supporting Actress - Marisa Tomei, Best Adapted Screenplay) and don't be surprised if Wilkinson or Spacek manage to walk away with the acting gongs. The film is by no means one which you'll long to revisit, but it is certainly one that you'll be glad you experienced. For once, Miramax have turned in an excellent film that isn't overdosed in golden honey.
Last updated: 10/06/2018 19:26:51