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In The Bedroom


Starring: Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei and William Mapother
Directed by: Todd Field
Writing credits: Robert Festinger & Todd Field

Rated: R


Okay, first let's get any ideas about this being a soft porn, or a low-cost Kama Sutra lesson, for you and your mansteak right outta your head! In fact In The Bedroom is such a heart hitting drama it should come with a disclaimer: Bring hankies and Visine™.

The acting from Marisa Tomei and Sissy Spacek, in particular, is top notch. But, after about two hours of non-stop drama I was pleading for a laugh, even a stock joke…Anything to loosen the head from its tears welled in eyes and the heart from its heart wrentched in pain grip. The script is a slow and realistic bit of visceral voyeurisms that are strung together a bit unevenly.

The story is simple. In The Bedroom addresses the age-old tale of the new boyfriend making an ex-husband irate. Love is always complicated no? Sometimes bad things happen to good people…etc, etc.

We meet Natalie Strout (Marisa - finally a great role for a great actress- Tomie) who is a neighborhood gal with two kids and a new beau. Her new lad and bed partner, Frank Fowler (Nick - looking swell- Stahl) is many years her junior (bravo) and is thinking about college and his future along with the rabid Rhesus monkey fornication interludes.

He's getting smitten though, and thinks maybe taking a year off from school, would be the right thing to do.

His mom, Ruth (Sissy Spacek), an old-fashioned New England soul with desires for her son to get out -of-Dodge and make a career away from the roost is fearful of just such a summer booty- turned- relationship scenario and starts to blatantly do that mother thing…Warn him, manipulate him, urge him to dump the gal before he throws his life away. It's her God given job after all.

His father, Dr. Matt Fowler (Tom - you know him, you just don't know from where you know him- Wilkinson) a sullen, calm fellow, figures his son's going to do what ever he wants anyway and is just enjoying the summer "hangin" with the boy.

Natalie's ex (or practically her ex) husband Richard (William Mothra, er, Mapother) is starting to see red at this new relationship. This young punk Frank is taking his kids out, sleeping with his "wife" and basically taking over his home. The arguments start and Spousal Abuse 101 begins its summer session.

Frank's a stand up guy and tries to control the situation. He runs over, repeatedly, to help Natalie...

The outcome is the worst scenario anyone would, could, predict- that's all I'll say. There's very little suspense and a whole lot of emotional crescendos. It's the actors, each doing their characters a justice, that make this film so compelling where others would simply lie flat and quickly slip into the shelf at the video store.

For sure, In The Bedroom will sneak into the awards ceremonies this year, as most high dramas of value often do.

Ms. Tomei (Natalie Strout) should be able to ad a couple of trinkets beside her Cousin Vinnie (finally) Oscar©. I loved seeing her in Someone Like You (a movie I still think is a fluffy puffy adorable story!). Here she shows her serious actress side and it is radiant!

Nick Stahl (Frank Fowler) is a total manfest treat extravaganza. He's ayoung actor with a bit of a rep- which I suppose is why we don't see all that much of him. Here Nicky's decidedly different from his Bully role, but non-the-less attractive. Oh, where he just a tad older…I'd roll him in flour and sauté his adorable being in butter, top him with a dollop of sour cream and slurp him up! Keep an eye out for this guy…

Sissy Spacek (Ruth Fowler) doesn't work that often. But when she does ohhwee she picks the roles! Affliction still disturbs me. Sure we all remember her as Carrie, the girl with a slight social problem, but she's done some pretty amazing things and each time she's so translucent you hardly notice the actress behind the role.

Tom Wilkinson (Dr. Matt Fowler) played his doctor with an unswerving calmness. I would have like to see him stretch from the Nicholas Cage School of Acting (motto: one expression = all expressions) for even a nano-second and burst into a rage or something — just once.

In The Bedroom is not for everyone. If you enjoy high drama and realistic looks at injustice, run and see this. The editing is a bit strange; sometimes making it appear undone. But for all its faults the actors pull it together and make it a must see for drama lovers.

Snack Recommendation: Lobster fritters and beer


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