Modern technology is a wonderful thing. It allows us to enjoy comforts in parts of our world that used to be very uncomfortable. It allows us to be better informed about the world around us and learn anything we might want to learn at the click of a few buttons. Hell, it even allows me to pass along these thoughts to you right this moment.
But modern technology is all dependent on electricity and wireless networks…and the moment those two things fail, we will be so. royally. screwed.
INTO THE FOREST is the story of one family. Robert and his daughters Nell and Eva (Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood) live off the grid in the Pacific northwest, about a twenty-minute drive from the closest town. One evening the power goes out, and when they turn on their radio to get information about the problem, they discover that the outage is massive – taking out the entire western seaboard at least. Robert quickly senses that they will need to be smart about resources in the face of what will likely be a lengthy crisis. Before that attitude can completely be instilled into his daughters, Robert suffers a fatal accident, leaving the sisters to fend for themselves in deeply dangerous and uncertain times.
Director Patricia Rozema has done a few things with her sharp adaptation of Jean Hegland’s novel. For starters, she has brought to life a story of sisterhood that is nuanced and complexed. When we first meet Nell and Eva, they are just your average entitled millennials…the sort of girls who want to waste a precious resource like generator to turn on their stereo. But as weeks turn to months, we soon see them evolve into more cautious and more intuitive survivors.
Another great achievement of Rozema’s direction is the way it handles a plot turn that I dare not spoil. It’s one that could be controversial, and one that could be contrived…and yet it is handled with such a deft hand that it becomes indelibly powerful. We live in a world that wants to see things in black and white, “my belief versus yours”. However, just as we have to learn to rely on our conveniences less, we also have to learn to use our own hearts and minds more. The story of INTO THE FOREST is a call to not make broad judgements, and be allowed to follow our hearts when the time comes.
INTO THE FOREST begins with the three members of this family all in separate rooms enjoying their comforts, and by the time it’s all over we realize that we need to get away from that. That’s not to say that we all need to unplug…just to say that we need to be able to light a fire as succinctly as we can Google.
We need to know what each-other is capable of as much as we know what they like to Tweet about.