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In the Bedroom:

Do you know what it feels like to have loved and lost? Or, to have something or someone close to your heart vanish in a blink of an eye, as the promise of love is taken from your possession? Todd Field’s directing debut is very much about effect of loss, coping with absence, managing anger, and deferring dreams. More importantly however, this film is about life and the amalgamation of its twists and turns.

Sissy Spacek (Ruth) and Tom Wilkinson (Matt) provide an excellent portrait of New England small town married life. Ivy league educated and well established, their existence embodies the comforting nuances longevity can provide. Then, life happens. In fear of giving away the rub, I shall stop there. It is safe to say, however, that the viewing experience will not go spoiled-even if your best friend went to see it last weekend, called the next morning and gave you the run down.

The visual experience is amazing. Shot construction and position are not foreign to Field. Perhaps more well known for his acting roles in films like Gross Anatomy (’89), Twister (’95), and Eyes Wide Shut (’99), few are aware of Field’s accomplishments as a photographer. His comfort with visual composition does not go unnoticed by the attentive viewer. (Take particular note of the cigarette scene).

The relationships between characters are fully developed as well. That which dialogue leaves unspoken, compelling performances implicitly underline. In every sense of the word, Spacek wears her character, Ruth, like a glove. Tom Wilkinson is a culmination of masculinity and sensitivity as Matt. And, Marisa Tomei is great as the somewhat conflicted, often much-confused Natalie. Yet somehow, Field manages to keep an anchor of subtly attached to film.

Having captured three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture, it seems the masses have caught on the 2001 “sleeper”. One might argue that a good film relies on well developed characters captured a hypnotic inducing narrative rather than special effects and over wrought imagery. In which case, In the Bedroom more than fits the bill.
Bottom line: In the Bedroom is good film, well worth the nine bucks. You might actually get bonus points for picking a thought provoking date flick!

January 22, 2002
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