Wintry Mix

The holiday film forecast

Wintry Mix

Indie

IN THE BEDROOM

In the Bedroom, one of the most original and widely praised films in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival last January, is finally rolling out to theatres nearly one year later. This American independent film is a quiet, emotionally wrenching study of family dynamics and the power of grief to turn everything routine and familiar into prickly irritants and unexpected emotional eruptions. Set in a small town in Maine, In the Bedroom stars Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson, who were both recognized with special acting honors at Sundance for their stirring performances in this piece. The movie also co-stars Marisa Tomei (who delivers the best dramatic work of her career) and Nick Stahl (the rising young actor who also made a strong impression in another of this year's festival favorites, Sleepy Time Gal). First-time director Todd Field (an actor best known for his role as the piano player in Eyes Wide Shut) shows a strong talent for eliciting actors' best work. Based on a short story by Andre Dubus, In the Bedroom is a dangerous movie to talk about without giving too much away in advance. Things happen in the movie that startle and upend the characters, and their experiences living with and reacting to these events provide the movie's emotional ballast. These characters are often as surprised and blindsided as the audience by their unadulterated instincts and behaviors. Yet, in its portrait of grief, In the Bedroom has surely gained extra currency in the wake of the recent American tragedies. A movie this smart, sensitive, and enlightening about the stages of grief, injustice, and the realities of coping with sadness may find itself taking on new meanings for this new millennium. (January)


ALSO PLAYING

The Business of Strangers ... First-time writer/director Patrick Stettner's rough-and-tumble character drama about sexual politics features Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles. (Dec. 7)

Focus ... William Macy and Laura Dern star in this film adaptation of an Arthur Miller play about anti-Semitism. (Dec. 7)

Chop Suey ... Famed Vanity Fair photographer Bruce Weber documents his celebrity shoots. (Jan. 18)

Italian for Beginners ... Come see the softer side of Dogme 95. This fifth "officially sanctioned" production from the Danish indie collective is earning good word-of-mouth for its sweetly humorous take on the Copenhagen singles scene.(January)

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