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Movie Review: In the Bedroom

Story: Get out your local price of admission and run to see this great film. How's that for opening salvos? Please know before you go that this is a difficult film to watch and it stays with you for quite a while. Based on a short story by Andre Dubrus called Killings, first time film director (who also co-wrote the script) Todd Fields has delivered us an early holiday present. Fields, also an actor (Eyes Wide Shut) definitely understands his craft from both sides of the camera.

It is summer in Maine, complete with lobster boats, picnics, family and the leisurely pace that is remembered of summer. This tranquility ends abruptly after tragedy strikes one family. How they handle their personal nightmare constitutes the balance of the film. It is about grief, coping, anger, passion, blame, revenge, friendship, the victims of crime and the justice system. It is gripping storytelling. The pace is often brutally slow but always thoughtful and in the end, very effective. This could have been a sapfest in lesser directorial hands. Bravo to Todd Fields!

Acting: There are not enough superlatives to describe English actor Tom Wilkinson's (The Full Monty, Patriot) portrayal of the father. He is simply brilliant. As is Sissy Spacek as the mother. They both deserve all the awards they can fit on their mantelpieces for their work in this film. Marisa Tomei earns my applause for the best work of her career and William Mapother is certainly on his way to an interesting career. Another round of applause to all.

Critters: Lobsters ... some doomed, some thrown back.

Food: Lots of barbecues, breakfasts, lunches and dinners and some Kit Kat bars.

Visual Art: Fascinating details abound in every scene.

Blatant Product Placement: Kit Kat bars and Moxie soft drink (if you have ever tasted this New England soft drink you would remember it ).

Soundtrack: Excellent mood pieces including an interesting Balkan accapella chorus.

Opening Titles: Appropriately simple.

Theater Audience: Jam packed. I will never go to a film on a holiday weekend again. It was my 11th Movie Fone ticket so it was free. That part was fun. I do not use Movie Fone anymore because they now have a surcharge but I wanted my free ticket.

Quirky Meter: 2

Squirm Scale: 2 (an abusive husband and some lobster catching made me squirm).

Predictability Level: Good storytelling keeps you guessing.

Tissue Usage: 1

Oscar Worthy: Absolutely!

Nit Picking: Other than the occasional slow pace it was perfect.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen

Length: 2 hours and 11 minutes.

LOBO HOWLS: 9