Official Selection, 2001 Toronto International Film Festival
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Before In the Bedroom, Todd Field was best known as the blindfolded pianist in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. After In the Bedroom, he was a filmmaker to be reckoned with — the Oscar-nominated director and producer of one of the sharpest and most piercing domestic dramas in years: an adaptation of Andre Dubus’ short story “Killings,” which follows a long-married couple dealing with a sudden, violent loss. Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson are that couple, Ruth and Matt Fowler, with Nick Stahl as their son Frank and Marisa Tomei as Natalie, the recently divorced woman Frank’s been seeing. Field spins the story out deliberately, letting us understand who these characters are to one another before introducing Natalie’s ex-husband, Richard (William Mapother), whose violent temper looms like a cloud over her happiness. In the aftermath of Richard’s actions, In the Bedroom becomes an almost unbearably intimate study in mourning, and the way in which grief left unreleased can curdle into something even uglier. With Field about to deliver his first new feature in a decade and a half later this year, this seems like an excellent time to reconnect with his devastating debut.
Content advisory: violence, gory images, coarse language