Reviews

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Murder and Marriage Most Foul

What critics are saying about In the Bedroom, Gosford Park, The Shipping News, Imposter, Lantana, Kate and Leopold, and How High

'Tis the season for top ten lists. Film critics are fighting over whether The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Black Hawk Down, Moulin Rouge, Mulholland Drive, or Memento is the "movie of the year." (My own such list is at Looking Closer.) Golden Globes and Oscars are just around the bend.

I'd like to hear from you: Did Frodo's quest or Harry Potter's magic move you? Did you sense the truth glimmering through Shrek or Monsters, Inc.? Maybe you treasure a film most people missed, like The Dish or The Road Home. Or perhaps the year's best was a re-issue like Apocalypse Now or 2001: A Space Odyssey. What film meant the most to you in 2001? Why? E-mail me and I'll include some responses in next week's Film Forum.

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A few weeks ago, two religious media critics posted early reactions to In the Bedroom, an acclaimed art-house picture from actor-turned-director Todd Field. But now that the film is in wider release, and accumulating awards and nominations left and right, other critics are writing in about this artful and troubling drama.

The title might suggest that the film is about sex, but it's actually about a marriage. Matt and Ruth Fowler's brief but barbed exchanges have remarkable realism; they're not often contentious, but they're not very communicative with each other either. During times of stress you can see the hairline fractures in their relationship. This is especially true when they discuss their son's love life.

When tragedy strikes, cracks in the foundation spread and broaden. (I'm being carefully vague to avoid spoiling surprises.) Matt and Ruth grope for comfort and consolation, but friends and legal advisors fail them. A great injustice looks like it will remain an irresolvable problem in their lives. ...

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Posted:
April
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