Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The best movie of the last several years: the most evocative, the most mysterious, the most inconsolably devastating.
  2. 100
    There are scenes as true as movies can make them, and even when the story develops thriller elements, they are redeemed, because the movie isn't about what happens, but about why.
  3. When it comes to the realistic portrayal of the complex process of grief, most actresses are at a loss. Sissy Spacek is decidedly not most actresses.
  4. A lot of actors are labeled "brave" for taking on difficult scripts like this, but Spacek is the real thing: an artist first, without vanity, and a movie star almost by default.
  5. It sneaks up on you and shakes you: a tale of the cold hell surging up beneath that windy, sensuous Wyeth landscape.
  6. 88
    Tremendously affecting on several levels, In the Bedroom is must-see viewing for anyone who complains Hollywood doesn't make movies for grownups.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Bedroom succeeds with performances that get some of their power from imaginative casting.
  8. Field does what most American directors don't: He shows people at work, in the day-to-day activity unmarked by excitement.
  9. Directed by newcomer Todd Field, who has a sensitive eye and a knack for storytelling.
  10. 80
    Meticulously observed and devastatingly well-acted.
  11. 60
    A courageous film, especially from a first-time director, and deserves all the audience support it can attract. It’s a People Story, and it’s About Something. However, it’s also something of a heavy sit.
  12. The actors, as a powerful and convincing ensemble, are equally understated and just as devastating.
  13. The uncoagulated anguish of parents mourning the death of a child has rarely been more powerfully depicted than in the collected vignettes of grief, rage, and retribution that make up the riveting domestic drama In the Bedroom.
  14. Like Kubrick, Field doesn't make any moral judgments about his characters, and his film remains stubbornly enigmatic. It can be read as a high-class revenge thriller, an ode to the futility of vengeance or almost anything in between.
  15. 100
    With performances that will raise the hairs on the back of your head, it's a film that knows the private geography of love, grief and obsession.
  16. When a film as profoundly quiet as In the Bedroom comes along, it feels almost miraculous, as if a shimmering piece of art had slipped below the radar and through the minefield of commerce.
  17. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    The compositions, the editing, the lighting, the sound, the music: everything seems meticulously considered, conjuring up a hushed intimacy that instantly sucks you in.
  18. 90
    For all its flaws, In the Bedroom is an unusual accomplishment, a serious drama about violence and morality that plays out with a fatalistic intensity somewhere between Greek tragedy and film noir.
  19. 90
    An uncommonly good movie - a thriller that transcends thrills to become a heartfelt and heart-stopping personal drama.
  20. Field made a thriller about what we are capable of in the name of hatred -- and of love.
  21. 80
    Goes the distance to avoid banalizing the dilemma of a reasonable couple unhinged by unreasonable events.
  22. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Beautifully acted by a diverse ensemble, this Good Machine production is carefully crafted and deliberately paced.
  23. If Dubus' work always resembled some sort of literary therapy session, as has often been said, then Field's version requires grief counseling. It is, at times, that devastating.
  24. 50
    Increasingly unconvincing, In the Bedroom turns genteel rabble-rouser. Field's leisurely buildup forestalls but doesn't prevent his movie's mutation into a granola "Death Wish."
  25. Short of good, better than awful, it opens brilliantly, then just goes on, toward self-negating absurdity.
  26. 50
    A killer ending does not a movie make, and ultimately In the Bedroom may be more interesting to talk about than sit through.
  27. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    The surehandedly wrought, beautifully acted, almost unbearably tense In the Bedroom is a rare film, not to be missed.
  28. It's a human drama, drawn in such careful emotional detail, its two acts of violence -- one shown, one not -- are almost incidental.
  29. 100
    Demanding, harrowing and very, very real. You won't shake its impact easily.
  30. The kind of movie they don't make any more -- a seriously beautiful, deliberately paced drama that meanders for a while at the pace of a summer romance, then explodes with phenomenal force.
  31. 100
    Field achieves so convincing a picture of everday normality that when violence breaks out one feels the same disbelief that one feels when it breaks out in life. [26 Nov 2001, p. 121]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 48
  2. Negative: 8 out of 48
  1. Aug 22, 2014
    Thanks to some keen use of such thematic ideas as the cycle of violence and the causes and effects of death, "In The Bedroom" kicks the crap out of the viewer's heart and leaves them with a whole lot to think about. Full Review »
  2. Oct 15, 2012
    Sissy Spacek great acting as always , Anyway, this is a great movie to me: adult and charismatic. Superb acting, excellent screenplay, good direction and an intense alarming atmosphere Full Review »
  3. Dr.K.
    Jan 17, 2010
    This film is undoubtedly one of the most overrated films (by the 10 crowd). We picked out the main plot "switch" early on, it was well-telegraphed. The performances were fine but not as Oscar-worthy as so many critics have proclaimed. We were actually quite surprised--expectations were much higher based on review blurbs we were aware of beforehand. I too find value in "slow and plodding" at times, but this was TOO slow and plodding! Full Review »