In the Bedroom

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A supremely confident, controlled US indie, this debut from actor Field isn't the sex romp its title might suggest, but a well-tempered study of communion and claustrophobia, trespass and transgression. In the first place it's an immaculate family portrait of a middle-aged New England couple (Spacek and Wilkinson) on the brink of losing their grown son (Stahl) to college, hoping his fling with an older single-mum (Tomei) won't outlast the summer. The film conveys these relationships, their intimacies and tensions, with enveloping ease and lucidity, before taking first one and then another abrupt turn into unpredictable terrain. All this is acted with immense delicacy and authority so that when peace erupts, the emotional violence is visceral. At the film's core is a portrait of grief and the healing process, evoked with remarkable containment by Spacek and Wilkinson, she burrowing deep into repressed reproachfulness, he correspondingly lost in a daze of uncertainty. And if the final stage alone nudges up against genre bounds, it none the less raises some pertinent questions. Meanings here are fluid, but ultimately it's a film about the implacable face of bourgeois composure: the surface is ruffled, something stirs in the deep, but finally tranquillity reasserts itself.

Release details

Duration: 130 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Todd Field
Screenwriter: Rob Festinger, Todd Field
Cast: Sissy Spacek
Tom Wilkinson
Nick Stahl
William Mapother
William Wise
Celia Weston
Marisa Tomei
Karen Allen

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Mike

Sad, and deeply moving. An excellent film. Both Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson were nominated for Oscars for their roles in this film.