An older married couple must deal with the aftermath of a personal tragedy.
In the Bedroom (2001)
Directed by Todd Field
Written by Robert Festinger and Todd Field
Starring Tom Wilkinson, Sissy Spacek, Marisa Tomei, Nick Stahl, William Mapother, William Wise, Celia Weston
Based on the short story "Killings" by Andre Dubus
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Tom Wilkinson),
Best Actress (Sissy Spacek), Best Supporting Actress
(Marisa Tomei), Best Adapted Screenplay
In the Bedroom is a film about grief and where to aim it. It starts out as a film about a couple upset that their college-age son is dating an older woman with two kids and an angry ex-husband. It looks and feels like typical Oscar bait, not that there's anything wrong with that. But out of nowhere, tragedy strikes, and suddenly we're in a different movie, and it's so jarring, and abrupt, and upsetting that it drags you in, and you realize you're far more invested than you thought you'd get. We're treated to a host of fantastic performances, most of them subdued, in this forgotten Best Picture nominee.
Matt (Wilkinson) and Ruth (Spacek) are distraught and broken when their only son Frank (Stahl) is murdered in a fit of rage by his girlfriend Natalie's (Tomei) ex-husband Richard (Mapother). Once vibrant and close, Matt and Ruth barely talk anymore, with each blaming the other for Frank's death. When Richard is let out on bail, all hell breaks loose in their relationship, and the two have it out, in the scenes that I believe got them both their respective Oscar nominations. Both Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek are legendary performers, and they deliver some of their best work in this film. Nick Stahl holds his own, and Marisa Tomei is perhaps the most shattered of them all.
In the Bedroom shows us the different ways in which we grieve. Some cry, others scream. Some punch holes in the wall, others let it eat away at them quietly. But we all feel it, in our bones, and we wish we could do something to get rid of it. But how far would we go and what would we become? This film deserves to be revisited. It fell off the radar after the 2002 Oscars, mostly because the films it was up against all became notable classics. But this one is no slouch.