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"In the Bedroom"

Directed by Todd Field.
Written by Todd Field and Robert Festinger. 
Starring Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl and Marisa Tomei.
Release Year:  2001 
Review Date:  12/28/01 


Goodness, it is me again! 

This afternoon, I took in the heavily-acclaimed new drama "In the Bedroom."  Damn, this movie is good!  Damn, damn, damn!  This is some good stuff, friends, good stuff indeed.

Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson star as parents of college student Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl).  Frank is enjoying his summer job in Camden, Maine as a fisherman, and he is dating a hot, just-separated mother of two named Natalie (Marisa Tomei).  Things seem to be going very well for everyone involved...until tragedy strikes about a third of the way through the film.

What happens next is...the film just gets better and better and better and better.  Co-writer and director Todd Field does a beautiful job of laying down a few layers of story scene by scene, and he does an excellent job of telling us a story without showing us all that we need to know.  This is truly a story of what is just beneath the surface.  It doesn't hurt that the performances of Tomei, Wilkinson and Spacek are all excellent, and support by William Mapother ("M:I-2") as Natalie's estranged husband is fierce as well.  And, finally, a drama that actually throws some humor into the mix at just the right times!  Not that this film will have you rolling in the aisles, but it wisely throws some light, brief humor into the film at key moments to relieve some tension.  Most intriguing about this film is the use of music through its course:  there simply is none.  That's right, save for one or two moments of transitional music (neither lasts more than about 30 seconds), there is no score to speak of.  And, it works very well, as the quietest of moments make for a moving emotional scene here, an act of violence there.  Brilliant, I say!

This film will get nominated for Best Picture, and you can bet the farm on it!

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09