Brit Marling’s body of work is mounting into an accomplished resume. A multihyphenate if ever there was one, the actress has also written, produced and directed a chunk of titles from that resume – but not this one. In Daniel Barber’s The Keeping Room, Marling is solely in front of the camera alongside a Hailee Steinfeld and Muna Otaru. The story surrounds two sisters and the family slave at the tale end of the American Civil War. The women tend to the family farm after the male family members have all presumably perished in battle. When two Yankee scouts come into their lives, it turns out there’s more to be afraid of than whether or not one of the dairy cows has got a septic udder.
The first clip looks like the film will be a performance-rich piece, that’ll probably land a few awards nods. Augusta (Marling) dashes across a field to tend to her wounded sister (Steinfeld), while house slave Mad (Otaru) comes to assist. It’s a brief snippet, but DAMN, the tension mounting between the three women is palpable. Marling is, as usual, superb, a heady mix of restraint and despair crosses her face as Mad slaps her across the cheek. This one is worth looking out for, for sure.
The Keeping Room premieres this week at TIFF. Check out the clip below and let us know what you think.
In rural South Carolina in the final days of the American Civil War, Augusta (Brit Marling), her teenaged sister Louise (Hailee Steinfeld), and their young slave Mad (Muna Otaru) have been left to maintain the family farm on their own. With all of the men — fathers, brothers, farmhands — long since departed for the battlefield and now presumed missing or dead, the three women harbour fears about the future, unaware that a greater peril is much closer at hand. When an illness sends Augusta to a nearby town in search of medicine, she finds a welter of death and terror wrought by two Yankee scouts (Sam Worthington and Kyle Soller), who have embarked upon some private pillaging in advance of the approaching Union Army. Though Augusta manages to escape their clutches, the renegades track her back to the farm. The ensuing battle between the young women and their assailants is fierce, furious, and unpredictable.