In the Bedroom

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In the Bedroom
In the Bedroom Theatrical Release Poster, 2001.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Todd Field
Produced by Todd Field
Ross Katz
Graham Leader
Screenplay by Todd Field
Robert Festinger
Based on Killings 
by Andre Dubus
Starring Tom Wilkinson
Sissy Spacek
Nick Stahl
Marisa Tomei
Music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography Antonio Calvache
Edited by Frank Reynolds
Production
company
Good Machine
Eastern Standard Film Company
GreeneStreet Films
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • November 23, 2001 (2001-11-23)
Running time 131 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.7 million
Box office $43,368,779[1]

In the Bedroom is a 2001 American crime drama film directed by Todd Field, and dedicated to Andre Dubus, whose short story Killings is the source material on which the screenplay, by Field and Robert Festinger, is based. The film stars Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, and William Mapother.

The title refers to the rear compartment of a lobster trap known as the "bedroom" and the fact that it can only hold up to two lobsters before they begin to turn on each other.

Plot[edit]

The film is set in the Mid-Coast town of Camden, Maine. Dr. Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) and Ruth Fowler (Sissy Spacek) enjoy a happy marriage and a good relationship with their son Frank (Nick Stahl), a recent college graduate who has come home for the summer. Frank has fallen in love with an older woman with children, Natalie Strout (Marisa Tomei). Frank is also applying to graduate school for architecture, but is considering staying in town to work in the fishing industry and be near to Natalie. Natalie's ex-husband, Richard Strout (William Mapother), whose family owns a local fish-processing and delivery business, is violent and abusive. Richard tries to find a way into his ex-wife and son's lives, going to increasingly violent lengths to get his intentions across to Natalie. Ruth is openly concerned about Frank's relationship with Natalie, while Matt sees past his wife's worries.

Midway through the film, Richard kills Frank during a confrontation at Natalie's house following a domestic dispute. Though equally devastated, Matt and Ruth grieve in different ways, with Matt putting on a brave face while Ruth becomes reclusive and quiet. Richard is set free on bail, paid by his well-to-do family, and both Matt and Ruth are forced to see Richard around town. The tension between the pair increases when they learn that the lack of a witness to their son's shooting allows the killer to avoid murder charges, since the district attorney may have difficulty proving that Richard killed Frank intentionally, as opposed to accidental manslaughter during a struggle, which defense attorney Marla Keyes (Karen Allen) argues. The silence between the couple erupts in an argument where each is confronted with the truth about each parent's relationship with their son: Ruth was overbearing, and Matt let him get away with everything. With the strain between them broken, the couple is finally able to find common ground in their grief.

Matt then abducts and kills Richard. He and a friend bury the body on the friend's wooded property. Matt returns home to Ruth, who is awake and smoking in bed. She asks him, "Did you do it?" Matt appears troubled and unresponsive. He climbs into bed and then turns away from her. Finally, Ruth gets up to make coffee. Matt rolls over onto his back and pulls a band-aid from a finger he injured hauling traps. Ruth calls from the kitchen, "Matt, do you want coffee?" Matt doesn't answer.

Cast[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Wilkinson and Spacek's performances were highly praised by film critics.

Upon its release, the film received positive responses for its direction, script, and performances (notably Wilkinson and Spacek), garnering a 93% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 137 reviews with an average score of 7.9/10. The site's consensus states "Expertly crafted and performed, In the Bedroom is a quietly wrenching portrayal of grief."[2]

David Edelstein of Slate Magazine wrote on his review that it is the "best movie of the last several years" and described it "the most evocative, the most mysterious, the most inconsolably devastating" film. He further mentioned that the effect of the film "isn't over when you leave the theater" and that it's "always going to be there". He also called In the Bedroom a "masterpiece".[3]

Neil Norman of The Evening Standard stated that "...Field has not only studied the masters of cinematic understatement, such as Ozu and Bergman, but that he fully understands their processes... Field's achievement is such a perfectly consummated marriage of intent and execution that he need never make another movie. I would not be alone, I think, in hoping he will make many more."[4]

William Arnold of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer compared Field's direction to Kubrick saying that it "manages to feel both highly controlled and effortlessly spontaneous at the same time; and his lifting of the facade of this picturesque, Norman Rockwell setting is carried out with surgical precision". He further mentioned that "like Kubrick, Field doesn't make any moral judgments about his characters, and his film remains stubbornly enigmatic. It can be read as a high-class revenge thriller, an ode to the futility of vengeance or almost anything in between."[5]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated on his review that it is "one of the best-directed films of the year" and that "every performance has a perfect tone".[6] He listed In the Bedroom as his third best film of the year 2001.[7]

Rolling Stones' Peter Travers called the film "an uncommonly good movie" that "will hit you hard." He also mentioned that the "Oscar would be a fool" if they ignore Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson's "career-crowning performances".[8]

A. O. Scott included the film in his New York Times essay "The most important films of the past decade — and why they mattered."[9]

Among the negative reviews of the film include Paul Tatara of the CNN mentioning that the film "flounders" despite the good performances.[10] Stephen Hunter of the The Washington Post said "it opens brilliantly" but goes on to "self-negating absurdity."

Sundance[edit]

In the Bedroom was the first official Sundance Film Festival film to get an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture including three more nominations for acting and an adapted screenplay nomination. It nabbed the most nominations than any Sundance film until 2009's Precious.[11]

Box office[edit]

With the exception of Napoleon Dynamite, In the Bedroom had the largest box office of any film premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in the last decade.[12] The film grossed a worldwide total of $43,368,779.[13] It went on to become the highest-grossing non-IMAX film in history to never reach the top 10 in a given week.[14]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
Academy Awards Best Picture Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Nominated
Best Actor Tom Wilkinson Nominated
Best Actress Sissy Spacek Nominated
Best Adapted Screenplay Robert Festinger and Todd Field Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei Nominated
American Film Institute Awards Top 10 Films Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Won
Actor of the Year Tom Wilkinson Nominated
Actress of the Year Sissy Spacek Won
BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Tom Wilkinson Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Sissy Spacek Nominated
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Nominated
Best Actress Sissy Spacek Won
Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Nominated
Best Actor Tom Wilkinson Nominated
Best Actress Sissy Spacek Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Sissy Spacek Won
Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Sissy Spacek Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Motion Picture - Drama Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Nominated
Best Actress - Motion Picture, Drama Sissy Spacek Won
Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Marisa Tomei Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best First Feature Todd Field Won
Best Male Lead Tom Wilkinson Won
Best Female Lead Sissy Spacek Won
Best Screenplay Robert Festinger and Todd Field Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Film Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Won
Best Actress Sissy Spacek Won
National Board of Review Awards Best Director Todd Field Won
Best Screenplay Robert Festinger and Todd Field Won
New York Film Critics Circle Awards Best First Film Todd Field Won
Best Actor Tom Wilkinson Won
Best Actress Sissy Spacek Won
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Film Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Nominated
Best Director Todd Field Nominated
Best Actor Tom Wilkinson Nominated
Best Actress Sissy Spacek Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei Nominated
Best Screenplay - Adapted Robert Festinger and Todd Field Nominated
Best Breakthrough Filmmaker Todd Field Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Film - Drama Graham Leader, Ross Katz, Todd Field Won
Best Actress - Drama Sissy Spacek Won
Best Supporting Actress - Drama Marisa Tomei Nominated
Best Screenplay - Adapted Robert Festinger and Todd Field Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Tom Wilkinson Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Sissy Spacek Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture William Mapother, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, Celia Weston, Tom Wilkinson, William Wise Nominated
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Sissy Spacek Won
Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei Won
Sundance Film Festival Awards Special Jury Prize - Dramatic Acting Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson Won
USC Scripter Award USC Scripter Award Robert Festinger and Todd Field (screenwriters) and Andre Dubus (author) Won
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Actress Sissy Spacek Won

Film archives[edit]

A 35mm safety print is housed in the permanent collection of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.[15][better source needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=inthebedroom.htm
  2. ^ "In the Bedroom". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  3. ^ Edelstein, David (23 November 2001). "In the Thrall". Slate Magazine. 
  4. ^ Norman, Neil (January 24, 2002). "A fatal summer affair". The Evening Standard. 
  5. ^ Arnold, William (25 December 2001). "Pulling Back the Covers on an Idyllic Life". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger. "In the Bedroom". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Roger Ebert Top 10 List". http://alumnus.caltech.edu/. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Travers, Peter. "In the Bedroom". rollingstone.com. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Most important films of the past decade — and why they mattered
  10. ^ Tatara, Paul. "'Bedroom' well-performed, but severe Dreadful atmosphere". cnn.com. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Turitz, Neil. "Sundance at the Oscars". Studio System News. Retrieved 18 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Ten Grossers At Sundance this Decade
  13. ^ In the Bedroom at Box Office Mojo
  14. ^ Top Grossing Movies That Never Hit the Top 10 at the Box Office
  15. ^ UCLA Film & Television Archive

External links[edit]

Publications
Academic papers