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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.43%
Average: 14.29%
Pretty Bad: 13.1%
Total Crap: 15.48%

5 reviews, 54 user ratings

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In the Bedroom
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by Greg Muskewitz

"Domestic disturbance."
3 stars

In the Bedroom is readily generating an Oscar push, and in wake of Miramax’s shortcomings with Amélie (not completely out for the count yet, only circumstantially) and The Shipping News (hopefully causing the company to renege their movie-a-year contract with Hallström to once-in-a-blue moon). Still, for some such as myself, the reaction it has gathered would have been perplexing regardless if I had seen it before all of its critical crownings or after.

(One reaction would have been, “I saw no reason to make a big deal out of it when I saw it, so why are they doing it now?” or the other, “So what was all that fuss over?”) Either way, it is needless to say that I have been in a similar state of mind recently. Todd “Fidelio” Field directs the story of a married couple who cope (if you can call it that) with the death of their son. However, that ominous event that sets the mood for much of the film, doesn’t transpire until a good portion of the way into the 150-minute running-time. Leading up to that, one would suspect that there would be progression in the story, structural building, development. But there isn’t; it’s but a lot of cryptic conversation and deep ritualization. None of the relationships—between the son and the mother, the son and the father, the son and the girlfriend, the husband and the wife, the girlfriend and the wife, the girlfriend and the husband, etc.—are sufficiently established. Few words are exchanged, but the actions don’t always match them, leaving an unintentional half-assed ambiguity. The only clear situation is between the girlfriend and ex-husband, but the rest is left to speculation without motive(s). Once the murder has occurred, silences follow, retreats into habit and guilt coincide, and the staid atmosphere further thickens. The tension is a palpable one, and I don’t doubt the accuracy of the stages (anger and fighting) that follow.

A big hullabaloo has been made out of Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson and Marisa Tomei’s performances. Like the film, too big of a deal has been made, at least in the unsubstantiated light that I view it in. Tomei has a few scenes, emotional but curt, and all but evaporates for the rest of the time. Spacek is being toted as a Best Actress shoo-in, and even I predicted that she will be the winner. She has a lot going for her in critical reception and recognition, but mind you, this is nowhere near her Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter. And it is less a pleasure than her ignored Rose Straight in The Straight Story. If there was any question over whether Naomi Watts’ performance in Mulholland Drive should be considered a lead or supporting performance, if Spacek’s is a lead, then so is Watts’. (And, I might add, Watts gave a much better performance.) Wilkinson is the true surprise, the true lead, the true revelation. It is he who carries the weight of the film on his back, and yet under all that pressure has the most amount of space to maneuver. Relegated mostly to fluff like The Full Monty and Rush Hour 2, In the Bedroom is the best piece yet that allows Wilkinson to show what he has available. Field’s visual style and pacing is as indistinct as the décor of the Maine housing, as he makes a preference to long, lingering shots, enervated and colorless in the execution. (So much so, that when Field stumbles upon a beautiful composition, such as the mist of blood caught in the headlights of an SUV, he doesn’t even know it.)

With Nick Stahl and William Mapother.

Final Verdict: B-.

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originally posted: 01/11/02 05:05:23
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell in the bedroom the boredom begins crap imho 1 stars
6/03/15 Jamie smoldering, brillant acting, incredibly superb. 5 stars
2/27/06 Steven Lewis Just wasn't that interesting... 2 stars
2/01/06 jcjss wow 5 stars
1/17/06 cody a movie with good story and good perfomances, shocking ending 3 stars
11/12/05 Stewart I hate this film with a burning passion! It is extraordinarily depressing and boring. 1 stars
8/27/05 ES too slow, movie shifts gears too much, characters are quiet like puppets with no puppeteers 1 stars
11/15/04 DM What the fuck is wrong with Jack Sommersby? 5 stars
2/24/04 Joe it was nice until the silly ending 2 stars
1/19/04 LIAM JACKSON i'm sorry but stahl deserved to get shot. you don't mow another guy's lawn! 5 stars
8/31/03 I Would Ponderious, soap opera style script and pretentiously directed, leave this one alone. 2 stars
6/23/03 the Grinch Not the best theatre film, but it's nasty and involving this one... 4 stars
6/09/03 Jon Lyrik Great acting, dire TV movie-esque writing, story and directing. 2 stars
1/05/03 y2mckay basic revenge drama greatly elevated by Tom Wilkinson 4 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Shameless, underwritten, and repugnant. 1 stars
12/23/02 Iris Dementia Praecox Victims blame victims until vigilanteism is carried out. Gruckin' foovy! 2 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Where is Tom Wilkinson's Oscar!!! 5 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Good stuff! 4 stars
9/26/02 Ken I reject the belief that all movies must have total resolution. 5 stars
9/24/02 Susan Merritt was an extremely moving film that stays with you. Tom Wilkinson was perfection ! 5 stars
9/01/02 Doc Shock **yawn** zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
8/24/02 spyguy2 Powerful stuff. This one gets inside you and sits for awhile. 5 stars
8/19/02 The Bomb 69 good acting but the story just didn't play out to be real, emotions were funny, slow 3 stars
3/26/02 Tracy Frummond Wilkinson should've been 4th in best actor race, still better than chosen winner. 3 stars
3/25/02 Iris Dementia Praecox Victims blame victims until vigilanteism is carried out. Gruckin' foovy! 2 stars
3/23/02 Gina Westbrook Makes CDER HSE RULES, where Maine is at least an EQ. OPPRTUNTY redneck state, look better! 2 stars
3/17/02 Teresa Great movie. I would never tell anyone, "Go see it." It is very heavy. 4 stars
3/16/02 Ziggy Stardust if you're relaxed and at peace, you'll enjoy this movie. 5 stars
3/15/02 the movie moose In The Bedroom is the best, most influential film of 2001 period 5 stars
3/13/02 Jimbo Very good film. Contemporary storyline. Slow but slow is good sometimes. 4 stars
3/12/02 spaceworm Tom Wilkenson is [pick your superlative]. 5 stars
3/05/02 amir bama 5 stars
3/05/02 luka1717 i expected alot more from this, it was very slow and very boring for the most part 2 stars
2/23/02 hamad sex photos 1 stars
2/21/02 vanilla quiche suh-looooooow film, amazing acting 4 stars
2/17/02 Bueller Bring your heart and brain with you for this one. Want brain candy? See an Ahh-nold flick. 4 stars
2/17/02 AgentDS Pretty good, but overhyped. 4 stars
2/02/02 elizaveta Son getting shot was very predictable; I didn't buy the ending. 3 stars
1/30/02 Jon Jackson What's all the fuss? Where's the story? BORING! 2 stars
1/30/02 Carly Tense, but also overrated and anticlimactic. 3 stars
1/24/02 Albie Wilkinson deserves an Oscar..moving and well acted flick 5 stars
1/24/02 Paco A very adult movie...quiet and heartbreaking 5 stars
1/20/02 HATTAN1978 sex 5 stars
1/20/02 Bonne Great movie 4 stars
1/20/02 Belinda Its about time! Something worth the money. 5 stars
1/20/02 Sarah Stratton A great thinking movie--don't see it if you aren't going to think about it after it's over. 5 stars
1/19/02 Ken Pretentious and overwrought--avoid at all costs 1 stars
1/19/02 Suzz good but overrated; The Deep End was better 4 stars
1/18/02 Jason Moana Really well told story -- a movie you will think about, and enjoy, for a long time. 4 stars
1/14/02 Robert Brilliantly acted and thoughtfully done. 4 stars
1/13/02 daniboy pretty overrated. still a good movie though 3 stars
1/08/02 puckfreak ??? If you enjoyed "You can count on me" then you'll like this. 2 stars
12/13/01 Heather Haunting, moving movie about parents who have lost their son, great acting from Sissy & Tom 5 stars
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  25-Dec-2001 (R)



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