Grief always has a beginning, but sometimes no end. That's true for middle-aged Matt and Ruth Fowler (Wilkinson and Spacek), whose hearts are forever broken when their only son (Stahl), a recent college, graduate, is fatally shot by the estranged husband of the older woman (Tomei) he is dating. With the killer (Mapother) roaming free on bail in their Maine town, Matt can't forget and Ruth can't forgive, and grief threatens to overwhelm their marriage.
Spacek and Wilkinson give near-perfect performances, and the rest of the cast is close behind. An impressively assured first film by director-writer Todd Field (a talented actor last seen in Eyes Wide Shut), this carefully observed albeit slow-paced drama cuts deep. (R)
Bottom Line: An acting triumph