Raw and emotional are the exact words that I would use to describe Patricia Rozema’s newest release, Into The Forest. This independent Canadian film, produced by Elevation Pictures, is unlike any other film that I have seen and managed to elicit many different emotions.
Into The Forest is an adaptation of Jean Hegland’s novel of the same name. Actress Ellen Page read the book a few years ago while visiting her hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia. She was left in awe after reading the novel and has since commented, “The book was so beautifully written, compelling, suspenseful and deeply, deeply emotional that I thought it would be something that I’d really like to see on film.” Page then sought out Rozema who was also left in awe and signed onto the project of bringing the story to the big screen. Along with playing the lead character, Page also produced the film.
The two main characters—Nell, played by Ellen Page and Eva, played by Evan Rachel Wood—take on the roles of sisters with a strong emotional bond, and are brought even closer together post-apocalypse. The girls live with their father, played by Callum Keith Rennie, in a quaint but old country home, a long drive from the main town. The use of this isolated setting manages to evoke emotions of tension and fear juxtaposed with beauty. Everything about the scenery was breathtaking.
Suddenly, there is major power outage, encompassing the entire continent. Without electricity, solar power or gasoline, all is still and silent. And no one knows what has caused it. Radio broadcasts and rumours around town suggest that it might be due to a terrorist attack, mass uncontrolled violence or some type of technical breakdown. And it is within these rumours that terror builds, thus strengthening the bond between the sisters as they eventually face starvation and disease.
Though the film is set in the not-too-distant future, the story reveals the age-old concept of love and tenderness, strength and determination arising from a dire situation. Page and Wood’s dedication to their characters is truly admirable. Their emotions are palpable and transcend to the audience. Their interaction with each other, their home, and other characters in the film was incredibly engaging throughout the film.
After the honour of attending the screening of this film, I would highly suggest it to others when it debuts in theatres on June 3rd. Strap in for a heart-wrenching struggle of survival.
Director: Patricia Rozema
Starring: Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, Callum Keith Rennie, Michael Eklund, Wendy Crewson
Distributor: Elevation Pictures
Release Date: September 12, 2015 (TIFF), June 3, 2016 (Canada)
Run Time: 101 minutes