The film takes place in a small Maine community called Camden. Here, it's not all that uncommon to see chipped wooden houses on every other corner or sleepy-eyed churches that feature old rusty bells hanging in the steeple. The aura of small-town life is apparent and could pass for a Norman Rockwell painting. Among this quaint town's residents are a prototypical middle-aged couple named Matt and Ruth Fowler (Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek). Matt is a distinguished physician and native Mainer. New Yorker Ruth is a high school choral music teacher who enjoys her occupation. The Fowlers have one child named Frank (Nick Stahl), a college graduate student studying architecture, who has returned home for the summer while working as a lobsterman to earn some extra money.
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