AWFJ Movie of the Week, September 21-27: THE KEEPING ROOM

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the-keeping-room-posterThe Keeping Room, director Daniel Barber’s powerful Civil War drama which sees three women fighting to defend their isolated home from a pair of desperate rogue soldiers. Read on…

Brit Marling (After Earth, Arbitrage) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender’s Game) play sisters Augusta and Louise who, along with their devoted servant Mad (Muna Otaru, Rendition, Lions for Lambs), are alone in their rural farmhouse in the dying days of the American Civil War. Everday survival is difficult enough, but when a pair of rogue soldiers who have gone AWOL from the advancing Union Army decide to take the house for themselves the women are forced to take extreme action to defend themselves.

The screenplay, from first-time writer Julia Hart, is a dramatic powerhouse of intensity and insight, matched by absolutely stellar performances from Marlin, Steinfeld and Otaru. It turns the inherent masculinity on its head, with three strong, powerful women at its centre to drive the action. British director Daniel Barber (Harry Brown) celebrates this fact, blending genre traditions with a modern style to present a visceral, authentic view of war as told from a little-seen female perspective. It’s bold, brilliant and absolutely unmissable.

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panelists Comments:

Nikki Baughan: The Keeping Room is a rare beast, a Civil War Western told from an authentic female perspective, with three astonishing performances at its heart. It’s undoubtedly one of the best films of the year.

Nell Minow: The Keeping Room has a rare female perspective on a classic genre that has traditionally been the prime locus of masculine archetypes.

Jennifer Merin: Brilliant and explosive, The Keeping Room is a post-Civil Western about women’s struggles for self-determination and survival. Julia Hart has written a flawless script, and the performances by Brit Marling, Haliee Steinfield and Muna Otaru are extraordinary. The Keeping Room is a real keeper. A must see.

Film Details:
Title: The Keeping Room
Director: Daniel Barber
Release Date: September 25, 2015
Running Time: 95 mins
Language: English
Shooting Location(s): Romania
Principal Cast: Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, Muna Otaru
Screenwriter: Julia Hart
Production Companies: Gilbert Films, Wind Dancer Productions, Anonymous Content
Distributor: Drafthouse Films

AWFJ Movie of the Week Panel Members: Nikki Baughan, Anne Brodie, Pam Grady, Leba Hertz, MaryAnn Johanson, Loren King, Cate Marquis, Katherine McLaughlin, Jennifer Merin, Nell Minow, Perri Nemiroff, Kristy Puchko, Sheila Roberts, Liz Whittemore, Jeanne Wolf.

Other Movies Opening the Week of September 21-September 27:

September 21
Don’t Tell Anyone

September 22
Close Range
Enter the Diamond
This is Nowhere
Slade Collins In and Out of Time

September 23
Book: The Upgrade
The Making of Holiday

September 24
Lazer Team
The Reflektor Tapes

September 25
The Green Inferno
The Intern
Hotel Transylvania 2
Mississippi Grind
99 Homes
Finders Keepers
Pay the Ghost
Labyrinth of Lies
A Brave Heart
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead
In Dangerous Minds
Mission to Lars
Theresa Is A Mother
The Women’s List

September 26
The Hospital 2
Hell’s Playground

September 27

Edited by Sandra Kraisirideja, Associate Editor

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Nikki Baughan

Nikki Baughan is a London-based freelance film critic and features writer. Formerly editor of both Film Review and movieScope magazines, Nikki is currently contributes to various print and online publications, including Screen International, BFI, The List and Film Divider.