In The Bedroom

Often one can heave a sad sigh of disappointment at a really wonderful film when realizing that the author never had the chance to see the realization of his fantasy on film. All sorts of names in this category shoot through one's mind such as Melville, McCullers, and, of course, our near and dear, but pre-cinematic Bard. Keeping the subject somewhat more contemporary, we can also reflect on people like Andre Dubus, the man who wrote the original story that served as a basis for Tobias Wolf and Rob Festinger's scenario of "In The Bedroom". A magnificently structured tale, delicately balanced and subtly exposing tense emotions found in several relationships set against the seemingly deceptively peaceful backdrop of middle-class New England. We quickly become familiar with the characters, intelligently and powerfully portrayed by a cast superbly equal to the task, and possibly recognize the personalities, traits, and lifestyles as being similar to those of people from our own lives. Only when the unexpected happens do these people become irrevocably lost, struggling to find a way out of their predicament like helpless strangers disturbingly lost in the woods.

Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkenson as Ruth and Matt Fowler top a brilliant cast which includes the startlingly subtle performances of Nick Stahl, William Mapother, and Marisa Tomei. Everyone in the cast deserves special mention for this performance, which moves along with the seemingly effortless beauty of ensemble acting. Wilkenson, who has portrayed many striking roles (perhaps most familiar to Stateside audiences from "The Full Monty") will hopefully now become even more familiar to American audiences for his many facetted talents.

Revealing any further details of the story could possibly ruin the experience for the viewer as it unfolds before his eyes. It is a series of events that might have taken place in any rustic American town filled with ordinary people and yet it becomes terrifyingly painful in it's honest approach as it develops unexpectedly into what resembles a small Greek epic.

What a great pity that Andre Dubus is no longer around to see the cinematic realization of his story. He died on director Todd Field's birthday in 1999.

© 1994-2006 The Green Hartnett