In the Bedroom (2001)

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Released 29-Jan-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 125:41
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:40) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Todd Field

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Sissy Spacek
Tom Wilkinson
Nick Stahl
William Mapother
William Wise
Celia Weston
Marisa Tomei
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Thomas Newman

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, very much so
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    When one begins reviewing a disc that contains a film like In The Bedroom, one usually has a pre-conceived idea of what it will be about, with images of torrid sex and sordid behaviour immediately coming to mind. What I viewed instead was a slightly adult drama about a family picking up the pieces after a rather hairy domestic situation explodes in the face of a young man who allowed himself to be dragged into it. It is pretty near impossible to describe what happens in the film without revealing a few surprises, so I will be as brief as I can while skating around the central plot element.

    Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl) is your average American young adult - full of dreams about the future (among other things), and looking toward it with his eyes wide open. His father, Matt (Tom Wilkinson) is a doctor, and his mother, Ruth (Sissy Spacek) appears to be some kind of music teacher, both of them being quite devoted to one another and their son. Frank, however, is having an affair with Natalie Strout (Marisa Tomei), a woman who is in the middle of a divorce due to the violent, angry nature of her husband, Richard (William Mapother). Being that they all live in a relatively small town, the affair is pretty much public knowledge, and as is implied by the synopses given on the cover, and the IMDB, things soon blow up in everyone's faces.

    Without saying too much about how things progress from here, the rest of the film focuses upon the Fowlers and how they deal with the consequences of that social explosion. How the viewer receives this seems to vary according to how much they are willing to immerse themselves in the feelings of the Fowlers, but I should caution that I don't recommend going into this story alone if you have a serious mood disorder like myself. There are also a few minor contradictions of the facts here and there, although the same ethos that forbids me to reveal much more than what I've just described in the previous paragraph also forbids me to detail them in any serious manner. Suffice to say that in spite of a few plot holes, the film represents a satisfying return to the concept of story-telling in the cinematic sense.

    I do feel, however, that the title is just a tad inappropriate, given its implications, but overall, this effort is definitely worth watching once or twice. Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Oscar on the basis of this performance, and Marisa Tomei could well have won another one on the strength of her somewhat limited role here. However, the biggest star here is the beautiful cinematography, with framings that could well be used to demonstrate the workings of widescreen displays. All in all, there is something for (almost) everyone here.

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Transfer Quality


    After the previous two transfers from the Buena Vista stable that I looked at, I was almost expecting the worst from this one. However, In The Bedroom has been given a very nice transfer that can be made to serve in demonstrations, at least in a visual sense.

    The transfer is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and it is 16x9 Enhanced. According to the Region 1 reviews I have read, the film was shot in Super 35 and presented in 2.39:1, so this is a very good representation of the theatrical exhibition.

    This is a very sharp, richly detailed transfer, one that shows plenty of these two attributes without being overly harsh or edgy. There is also next to none of the grain that can sometimes show up in transfers of films that were shot using the Super 35 process. The shadow detail is somewhat on the average side, but there is little requirement for it until the last quarter of the film, anyway. There was no low-level noise found in this transfer.

    The colours in this transfer accurately represent the film, in that they are subdued and even dull at times. No composite artefacts or bleeding was noted.

    MPEG artefacts were not noted. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of aliasing on the wharf at times such as 14:18, but this artefact was generally tolerable considering it wasn't too severe. Film artefacts were found in small amounts from time to time, but they were generally tolerable and never distracting.

    There are English For The Hearing Impaired subtitles available on this disc. They are mostly accurate, but their timing is way off - at 79:41, they appear a full second and a half before the dialogue is actually spoken.

    This disc is RSDL formatted, with the layer change taking place at 56:40, while Sissy Spacek is staring at a newspaper. This is a very obvious layer change, as it interrupts the sound of a bird calling.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is one soundtrack on this DVD: the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 at 384 kilobits per second.

    I found the dialogue quite clear and easy to understand at all times, despite the accents that were in use. I didn't notice any real problems with audio sync, either.

    The score music in this film is credited to Thomas Newman. There is really very little of it, and I only noticed the music at one point towards the end of the film at 106:59. Whether this means I was engrossed by the story unfolding on the screen, there was very little score music, or that the music was of such a quality that it just isn't noticeable, I cannot say.

    The surround channels were used quite sparingly to separate the environmental sounds, such as leaves rustling or passing cars, from the dialogue and other frontal effects. Most of the time, the sound was focused into the front channels, which was fair enough considering that this is a dialogue-heavy drama, but such scenes as the picnic and the T-ball game could have done with a little more surround channel use.

    The subwoofer was also used sparingly for sounds associated with cars, violence, and the occasional dose of thunder.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



    The menu is static, silent, but 16x9 Enhanced. One annoying feature is that it kicks the user out into the feature after about fifteen seconds.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented in what looks like a slightly cropped, Full Frame (1.33:1) version, this two minute and twenty-two second trailer is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. It does a very good job of selling the film, complete with quotes from respected film critics, without giving too much information away.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    It's hard to believe, but it appears that this rental disc is the superior version, with the Region 1 version having no extras at all, although they do get a higher bitrate (448 kilobits per second) on their English soundtrack. It may well be worth waiting for the Region 4 sell-through version to hit the market, especially considering that the Region 1 version reportedly suffers from edge enhancement and pixelisation.


    I found In The Bedroom to be a hard watch, but one that paid off in terms of entertainment value. Marisa Tomei has certainly come a long way since her early appearance in The Toxic Avenger, and Sissy Spacek, whom I normally avoid like the plague, managed to surprise me. However, all of the actors take a back seat to the gorgeous photography, and this DVD represents it very well.

    The video transfer is excellent.

    The audio transfer is very frontal.

    The extras are (almost) non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
good movie - Geoff (read my bio)