Alternate Title: Killing Us Softly
Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl) starts dating an older woman with kids, Natalie Strout (Marisa Tomei). Unfortunately, Natalie’s not-quite-ex husband is still a little too much in the picture. This all happens under the watchful eye of a small Maine town.
Besides the eyes of the town, Frank’s parents watch over the relationship also. Matt Fowler (Tom Wilkinson) is the go-along dad always cracking an inappropriate joke and cutting out of his office early to grab lunch with his son. Ruth Fowler (Sissy Spacek) is the well-meaning mom who doesn’t always wait for a peaceful moment to ask invasive questions. Though she tries her best to like Natalie, Ruth clearly has her suspicions about the dynamic between Natalie and Frank.
As Natalie and Frank get closer and Frank flirts with putting his plans for his own future on hold, an unexpected visit from Richard Strout (William Mapother) throws Natalie and every one of the Fowlers down a very dark rabbit hole.
In the Bedroom is raw and unassuming. The acting is superb and the story itself is almost as invasive as Ruth Fowler. Although the content is heavy, the characters are worth investing in the realistic drama.
The film is an observant piece about grief, the slow burn of quiet pain and the chaos that comes when you fail to protect the things that need your protection.
Now it’s Your Turn…
In the Bedroom was nominated for Best Picture in 2001, but did the Academy get it right?