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Marina Antunes [Celluloid 11.06.15] Canada apocalyptic scifi drama



In the not too distant future, a family is living a peaceful, well-off existence at the edge of the world. Robert (Callum Keith Rennie) and his daughters live outside of town and away from prying eyes of neighbours by choice. Nell (Ellen Page) is studying for an entrance exam while Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) is practicing for an audition. Life is moving along normally until one night, the lights go out and don't come back on. It's here that Into the Forest turns from a simple family drama to a tale of survival at the brink of the apocalypse.


The family's distance from town means that for the first few days, life continues on as if nothing were wrong and the power will come on at any time but when the trio travels into town for supplies, it becomes clear that not everyone is taking the power outage in stride. The grocery store is nearly empty of food, some are gathering their belongings and leaving town for the city and the news reports that filter through suggest that the blackout is not only widespread but likely to last for a while. The family's plan is clear: return home, hunker down and wait it out.



You can likely guess where this is going. A series of events leaves the sisters to fend for themselves. Into the Forest isn't an action packed story of survival instead, writer/director Patricia Rozema, adapting the story from Jean Hegland's novel, is a far more mundane and quiet tale of two women finding themselves, bonding and surviving.


This is a realist tale of the apocalypse and because of Rozema's choice to stay grounded in reality, the story is far more concerned with Nell and Eva's relationship, how it grows and changes, how it changes them and how they see each other and how that changing relationship affects how they perceive and interact with the outside world. The remoteness of their home is both a salvation and a detriment, at once providing a place to hide away from passers by but also so far from anyone friendly that if someone was to stumble across them, the women would have no help.


Into the Forest is very much an acting showcase and Evan Rachel Wood and Ellen Page, both actresses who have proven to be great talents, really outdo themselves here. Because of the nature of the storytelling, the movie lives and dies by the authenticity and power of the performances and both actresses step up to the challenge. Their depiction of sisters in a transitioning relationship is beautifully captured with such honesty that it is sometimes difficult to watch, particularly when they are tested.


Into the Forest is a small, intimate chamber drama more interested in the human condition than in outlining the dramatic decline of civilization. It won't be for everyone but those looking for a challenging drama with emotional depth will not be disappointed.


And the final shot? One of the best of the year.

Recommended Release: Into the Forest (Novel)


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uncleB (6 years ago) Reply

Thanks for the review. I will definitely check this one out.


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