In the Bedroom (2001) – 3.5/5

Weird, unconventional little film that makes you think it’s going to be about one thing but then becomes about something completely different, then does it again at the end, leaving you perplexed and confused and wondering just how in the hell Marisa Tomei managed to look so insanely beautiful at the age she was when she shot this film, among other things. The film is interesting and extremely well-directed, but it’s too long by about a half hour, kind of wacky structurally, and not as well written as it could have been, especially in the third act. It’s very thought-provoking, especially the last few scenes or so, and the lack of a clear protagonist/plot was refreshing, but things are kept too vague and, ultimately, I just didn’t get what it was trying to say about people and loss and relationships and, mostly importantly, women.

The acting is also hit and miss; though mostly good, there are some character moments that could have used some restraint, specifically from the actor who plays the ex-husband, the ugly guy from Lost. He’s normally a great actor, and was good here, but at times went way too over the top, especially during the scene when he’s talking to Tomei’s character in the kitchen. I get that he’s supposed to be off-putting, but his look alone does that for us. He doesn’t need to be making weird faces and looking insane on top of it. It’s just silly.

The film also doesn’t make sense at times. The idea for the story is good, and unexpected, but I just didn’t buy that ***EXTREME SUPER DUPER SPOILERS** the ex husband would only be charged with manslaughter for what he did. Sure, Tomei’s character didn’t physically see him fire the gun, but the fact that he brought the gun into the house in the first place proves he intended to use it for some ill purpose. People don’t just bring weapons into an argument without some violent intention, after all. Maybe he hadn’t intended on killing anyone, but the fact that he was angry, violent, “packing heat,” as the kids say, and did end up shooting someone in the head should have earned him more than just a manslaughter charge, regardless of Tomei’s testimony. At least, that’s how I see it. Maybe I’m wrong. But what a screwed up system of law we have if I am.

And the transition that the father has at the beginning of the third act also comes out of nowhere. He spends the majority of the film in a state of numb, pathetic mourning, then has one conversation with a buddy of his and all of a sudden he’s a stone cold killer? And his wife too?  Huh? Talk about a 180. ***END SPOILERS*** I realize both events are necessary to further the bizarre anti-female theme of the film, but they require a huge leap in logic.

And yes, ultimately, the major theme of the film from what I  gathered is that women are the cause of most male suffering, pain, and death. The whole film is foreshadowed/summed up in the ***SPOILERS** scene at the beginning with the lobsters, which I initially thought was just a clever bit of a trivia thrown in to educate viewers on the  seemingly wondrous sport that is lobster hunting. But nope, it’s there to subconsciously prepare the viewer for the horrible events to come, and to make sure we know who the people “really” responsible for it were: the two women in the film, Tomei and Sissy Spacek. Though mostly Tomei. ***END SPOILERS**

But the metaphor is shady and, ultimately, due to some poor writing, unclear. The idea that ***SPOILERS** the actions of an emotionally manipulative woman who spends the majority of the film in the background brings about the violent end of her two male lovers, one of whom starts out as our protagonist, ***END SPOILERS** is unique and interesting and ambitious, and the film should be commended for trying something new. It just doesn’t quite work and could have used a few more polishes. Still, an interesting movie. And so well-directed.

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