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IN THE BEDROOM

"A Missed Opportunity"

Watch:

What You Need To Know:

IN THE BEDROOM opens with a young man, Frank Fowler, having an affair with a 30-year-old woman, Natalie, who’s getting a divorce from one of the spoiled heirs of the family that owns the local cannery. Frank’s mother, Ruth, is upset about the age difference, the divorce situation and the fact that her only son has just been chosen to attend an elite architectural school. Heartbreaking tragedy strikes Ruth and Frank’s father, Matt. Then, in a scene that simply aches with the possibility of forgiveness and redemption, Ruth and Matt suddenly exchange some bitter recriminations, and the whole story goes downhill to become a disappointing revenge thriller.

The first two-thirds of IN THE BEDROOM are one of the best-acted, most rewarding family dramas of the year. The final third of the movie, however, rejects forgiveness, redemption and true justice in favor of revenge and a confused, unintelligible warning about controlling mothers. By doing this, the movie wastes two superb performances by Cissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson as Ruth and Matt, and completely forgets Marisa Tomei’s interesting character, Natalie. IN THE BEDROOM also includes some contrived violence, foul language and immoral sexual implications.

Content:

(HH, CC, LLL, VVV, S, N, A, D, M) Movie contains secular humanist worldview which seems to propose that forgiveness, redemption, & even the Christian Church, are ultimately ineffective when confronted by tragedy & injustice, but this is mitigated by some solid Christian, redemptive elements, including priest ministers to grieving woman; about 17 obscenities, 9 strong profanities & 2 mild profanities; gunshot heard, brief gruesome image of man’s eye & side of face bloodied where bullet entered, kidnapping at gunpoint, & man shot dead from behind; implied fornication between man & woman whose divorce is not yet finalized & about three sexual references, one of which indicates that woman lets man sleep over in her house while her two children are there; partial natural male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, revenge not totally rebuked (movie is noncommittal & lets viewers make up their own minds).

More Detail:

It’s hard to imagine a movie that goes more off-kilter than the drama IN THE BEDROOM. For two-thirds of its running, it is a magnificent, heartbreaking drama that seems to be leading toward a wonderful ending full of redemption, forgiveness and justice. Then, the dialogue takes an unexpected turn, and the movie becomes a predictable, boring, artsy revenge thriller.

IN THE BEDROOM opens with a young man and an older 30-year-old woman enjoying a wistful romantic summer interlude in a field in Maine. Eventually, it is revealed that the man, Frank Fowler, is having an affair with Natalie, who’s in the final throes of getting a divorce from her violent husband Richard, one of the spoiled heirs of the family that owns the local cannery. Frank’s mother, Ruth, is upset about all this, including the age difference, the divorce situation and because her only son has just been chosen to attend an elite architectural school. Heartbreaking tragedy (and the accompanying grief) strikes the Fowlers. Ruth copes with the tragedy by withdrawing into her grief, but Matt tries to get justice for his murdered son. Then, in a scene that simply aches with the possibility of forgiveness and redemption, Ruth and Matt suddenly exchange some bitter recriminations, and the whole story goes downhill to become a disappointing revenge thriller.

The first two-thirds of IN THE BEDROOM are one of the best-acted, most rewarding family dramas of the year. Director Todd Field brilliantly portrays what happens when parents lose their only child to the violent act of a madman. The final third of the movie, however, rejects forgiveness, redemption and true justice in favor of revenge and a confused, unintelligible warning about controlling mothers. By doing this, the movie wastes two superb performances by Cissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson as Ruth and Matt. It also completely forgets Marisa Tomei’s interesting character, Natalie, leaving the resolution of her relationship with the Fowlers unresolved.

In its ill-conceived ending, IN THE BEDROOM seems to propose that forgiveness, redemption, and even the Christian Church, are ultimately ineffective when confronted by tragedy and injustice. This is doubly terrible because it looked for a while like the movie was going to head in the opposite direction. If it had gone in that positive direction, the movie not only would have been a strongly moral, if not Christian, work, it also would have been a far more rewarding cinematic experience, maybe even a masterpiece. Alas, the movie also includes some contrived violence, a gruesome shot of a murdered corpse, strong foul language, and immoral sexual implications. All in all, IN THE BEDROOM is perhaps the biggest missed opportunity of the whole year and maybe even the last 10 years.

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