I’m a sucker for films set in New England, so I knew that I was going to enjoy In the Bedroom regardless of the films plot, acting, etc. There’s just something about those little fishing villages on the east coast that speaks to my soul. Thankfully, In the Bedroom, which takes place Camden, Maine, was not a letdown.
The film focuses on the life of a middle-aged married couple, Matt (Tom Wilkinson) and Ruth (Sissy Spacek), after the violent death of their only son, Frank (Nick Stahl). Frank is a college boy that’s visiting home for the summer. During his return to his hometown, he develops a relationship with an older, married woman named Natalie (Marissa Tomei), who is in the process of divorcing her very unstable husband, Richard (William Mapother). Richard, overwhelmed with rage and jealousy, ends up murdering Frank. This happens towards the beginning of the film, which was pretty surprising to me. I assumed this film was going to be a thriller/murder mystery from the short description I read on IMDB, but the film isn’t really about solving a mysterious homicide or a lengthy court case; it’s more about the impact death has on the loved ones of the deceased.
After Frank’s death, Ruth and Matt let out some inner demons that they’ve been suppressing throughout their marriage. She wanted more children, he didn’t agree on her parenting methods, and so on. There are many films that follow a similar plot to In the Bedroom, but it’s easy for the acting to be over-dramatized and unrealistic (just think of all those terrible Lifetime movies). Spacek and Wilkinson avoid becoming just another grief stricken couple on the big screen by applying their exceptional acting skills in their roles as Ruth and Matt. Watching them go about their day to day lives after the death of their son made me feel as though I was a part of their family or a close friend. That may sound a bit creepy, but there’s this unexplainable connection that you’ll develop with these characters because of their authenticity.
In the Bedroom is currently streaming on Netflix.