IN THE BEDROOM
In the Bedroom serves as a powerful and well done study of grief. Through the first half of the film we see the joy of a developing love. But in the second half, we watch as Matt and Ruth Fowler struggle with life after the tragic and violent death of their son, who is killed by his lover's estranged husband.
Review by DARREL MANSON


IN THE BEDROOM

This page was created on January 2, 2001
This page was last updated on
May 21, 2005

Credits

Click to enlargeDirected by Todd Field
Short Story by Andre Dubus
Written by Robert Festinger

Tom Wilkinson .... Matt Fowler
Sissy Spacek .... Ruth Fowler
Nick Stahl .... Frank Fowler
Marisa Tomei .... Natalie Strout
William Mapother .... Richard Strout
William Wise .... Willis Grinnel
Celia Weston .... Katie Grinnel
Karen Allen .... Marla Keyes
Frank T. Wells .... Henry
W. Clapham Murray .... Carl
Justin Ashforth .... Tim
Terry A. Burgess .... District Attorney
Jonathan Walsh .... Father McCasslin
Diane E. Hamlin .... Davis' Assistant
Camden Munson .... Jason Strout Christopher

Produced by Todd Field (producer), Ted Hope (executive producer), Ross Katz (producer), Graham Leader (producer), Tim Williams (co-producer)
Original music by Thomas Newman
Cinematography by Antonio Calvache
Film Editing by Frank Reynolds

MPAA: Rated R for some violence and language.
Runtime: 130 / Canada:136 (Toronto film festival)


Trailer
QuickTime Various

In the Bedroom:
Original Motion Picture Score

Thomas Newman
A young man. An older woman.
Her ex-husband.
Things are about to explode...
Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge

Review by
DARREL MANSON BLOG
Pastor, Artesia Christian Church, Artesia, CA
http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch01198

Darrel has an incredible love and interest in the cinematic arts. His reviews usually include independent and significantly important film.

 

Click to enlargeGrief is not wrong. Grief is certainly natural and it is even spiritual. From time to time it takes over our lives. Often because we have grieved, we have grown. But it can also eat away at us. Matt and Ruth allow their grief to turn ugly in the end. They allow their grief and anger to change them into something they never were before -- and it may have destroyed them.

In the Bedroom serves as a powerful and well done study of grief.

Click to enlargeThrough the first half of the film we see the joy of a developing love. But in the second half, we watch as Matt and Ruth Fowler struggle with life after the tragic and violent death of their son, who is killed by his lover's estranged husband. We see them as they seem to walk through their world turned inside out. We watch as they try to find what it means to get back to normal, when they know it will never be normal.

Click to enlargeWe watch as their grief is rekindled by the smallest of reminders of their son. We see their anger and despair and we watch as they lash out at each other in frustration. And we are left with questions about the extent that their grief and anger have damaged not only their everyday life, but may have even destroyed their own morality and goodness.

Click to enlargeOften the movie is a bit slow as we see the grief unfolding. Much of this is done visually, and Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek have done masterful jobs of letting is feel this grief even without dialog. And it's okay that the movie moves slowly through this, because grief is slow and comes in fits and starts just as we see it in this film.

This film was winning awards at film festivals earlier in the year, but as I watched the film, I was struck at what an amazing witness it is in our post-September 11 world. For me the film served as a mirror reflecting the grief that is still so prevalent in the U.S. and the ways it continues to rekindle even though we keep trying to "get back to normal." There are constant reminders of how the world has changed. And people deal with the grief differently - just as Matt and Ruth and others affected all acted differently in the aftermath. We may find ourselves trying to set things aright.

Or maybe we want to wait for the system to do its job, thinking that will help. Or maybe we just sit and stare watching the world outside of grief on TV as a form of escape.

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THE FOLLOWING QUOTE ... IN THE BEDROOM
Subject: In_The_Bedroom
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002
From: "Garrett, Bart"

"And we are left with questions about the extent that their grief and anger have damaged not only their everyday life, but may have even destroyed their own morality and goodness." I am a bit disturbed at this quote in the review. Grief doesn't destroy the morality of humanity, but it reveals it, and what it reveals is not an innate goodness, but a depraved badness. That is the thrust of the Christian doctrine of humanity. We are totally dead in our sin until made alive by Christ. As my wife and I watched this story unfold on the big screen a couple of days ago, we saw what grief can do to people who aren't grounded in Christ--it disables them, stokes anger, and embitters the heart making it impossible to forgive. We contrasted this to what Christ did in us when we grieved over the death of my wife's mother. The movie did an excellent job of depicting a "griever's" way of life, the deep felt changes in an effort to strive towards normalcy. We experienced all of the pain, the sadness, and the turmoil that this couple experienced, yet Christ protected us from ourselves and brought healing and depth in the midst of a tragic storm. Grief reveals our stale morality, while Christ uses grief to transform it.

Bart Garrett
Perimeter Church
mailto: bartg@perimeter.org
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In The Bedroom © 2001 Miramax Films. All Rights Reserved.