The Keeping Room (2014) Movie Review, Three Women Stand Together Against the War


It’s not easy being a woman in the midst of a civil war. After all the men have been sent as soldiers to join the war and are not necessarily safe home, the women must stay at home alone. Women are forced to take over and replace all the roles of men in all frightening uncertainties. Women must be prepared for all eventualities. Women must learn to fight too, in order to survive. How those times were vague and hazy moments about the future, clearly not easy to pass. Set in the 1875 American Civil War, The Keeping Room (2014) gives us another perspective on women who saw and experienced war.

The Keeping Room Movie Review (2014)

The film The Keeping Room (2014) tells the story of three young women who live and survive together, in the midst of the American Civil War in 1875 which has claimed the male members of their family. Augusta and Louise were white sisters. The two of them also live with Mad, a black woman who actually worked as a slave to their family at that time, where slavery was still not abolished. However, after the civil war broke out, there was no longer a time or place for racial discrimination. In the end, the three of them are just fellow women who must support and protect each other in order to survive in the midst of war, no matter what.


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The atmosphere presented by the cinematography of this film can be said to be quite dark and bitter, describing the uncertain situation they are currently facing. They always had to be on the alert, ready, for all the worst possible scenarios—including if war finally spread to their territory. In the midst of all these conditions, the film frames the experiences of these three women very well: the anxiety and unease that assaulted Louise after she had a bad dream of catching a glimpse of her father and Nathaniel, her brother, supporting each other and stumbling back home, in the middle of the night. the expanse of the corpses of the other warrior men; the struggle of the women who were not easy to carry out the male gender roles at that time such as chopping wood with an ax and holding a firearm; acute hopelessness, especially in the scene when Augusta visits the house of his neighbor, Mary, who he discovers to have died by suicide.

The storyline of The Keeping Room (2014) becomes intense when two strangers follow Augusta back to her house. Inevitably, Augusta—along with Mad & Louise—had to fight to defend the house where the three of them lived. In this section, The Keeping Room (2014) clearly highlights the issue of sexual violence against women. Cleverly, this film connects the character of Louise who is white and initially inclined to racism, with the character of Mad who is black, in one bitter experience in common—the experience of being a survivor of sexual violence.

Until the end of the film, The Keeping Room (2014) managed to wrap the story of the experiences of women who had to survive together in the midst of war so tragically and frankly, as it is. It awakens us to the fact that women are still considered a weaker and more vulnerable group in a patriarchal cultural system. It was also the reason why women were not sent to war. Even so, The Keeping Room (2014) highlights that women who are considered weaker and more vulnerable than men, can actually survive, fight, and fight. Even so, that meant the choice to disguise as a man and go out of their way to be expelled from their home-land, just in order to survive a little longer.