Best of… Series – 1993 – The Bed You Sleep In

This review contains heavy spoilers.

The Bed You Sleep In (Jon Jost, 1993)

It was purely coincidental that I saw this amongst my re-watch of Twin Peaks, and right after seeing Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, but this was felt more like Lynch’s show than his movie ever did, both in its setting and thematic elements. But anyway, this is not Twin Peaks, so I won’t make it about that.

Honestly, I wish I would not have read the synopsis at IMDb before seeing this. While probably not technically a spoiler, the film would have packed even more of a punch if I had no idea the main character, Ray, was going to be accused by his daughter of sexually abusing her. The first hour of the film is spent creating a setting and atmosphere. Jost nails the small-town setting, moving the film along at a slow pace, and putting the camera in places like a lumber mill office, a diner, a creek, etc. It is extremely poetic.

Then, Ray and his wife’s lives are turned upside-down when their daughter reveals Ray sexually abused her as a child. It’s ambiguous as to whether he actually did or not, and nobody but Ray and his daughter know the truth. This puts the viewers in the shoes of Ray’s wife. Who do you believe? What secrets might these two people hold? At this point in the film, we know Ray rather well. He’s likable and friendly. His daughter is an unseen character, but after hearing her claim, it’s hard not to sympathize with her. It’s a really interesting moral dilemma. I didn’t really care for the end of the film. Any time three characters commit suicide it reeks of excessive drama. But everything up to that point was so good, it didn’t really matter much.  9.75/10

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