The Keeping Room is a 2014 film set in Civil War Georgia during Sherman’s March.
8 out of 10 stars. Unforgettable.
A little American history. The U.S. Civil War began in April of 1861. After three and a half years of fighting, our country was torn apart. Brother was fighting against brother. Father was fighting against son. President Abraham Lincoln (not the saint everyone thinks he was) saw five more years of fighting ahead and made a decision. He ordered General Ulysses Grant to end the war at all costs. Most of the Confederate resources were in Georgia centered around Savannah. So General Grant ordered General William Sherman to march his men through Georgia leaving nothing behind. This became known as Sherman’s March and is one of the most pivotal moments in U.S. history. Sherman let the worst of his men–the thieves, rapists, arsonists, and murderers–tear through Georgia’s countryside raping, murdering, and pillaging. Then they burned it all to the ground. It worked. The war ended less than six months later. But it left the South hating the North for what they’d done, a hate that would last centuries.
Augusta and Louise are two southern girls left in charge of their plantation after all the men are sent to war. One black slave stays with them, Mad. Augusta is the older and prettier sister, also the more responsible one. Louise is the daydreamer and often rebellious one. What the girls and Mad don’t realize is that Sherman’s March has begun and is headed their way. Two men in particular are creating a murderous path to their door and will cross paths with them in only a few days.
One day while Augusta and Mad are working in the garden, Louise runs off and gets bitten by a raccoon. In case you didn’t know, most raccoons carry rabies. She comes down with a fever (not rabies), so Augusta rides to town for medicine. She arrives hours after two of Sherman’s soldiers arrive. These two brothers have already raped and murdered several people. Although the townspeople who are still alive help Augusta escape (and die doing it), these two men are still able to track Augusta home.
The women eventually kill the two men, but not before the more violent one rapes Louise, only because Mad’s gun misfires. But in those moments while they are inside fearing for their lives, Mad tells them about the keeping room on the plantation where she was a child. White masters (pedophiles) raped young black slaves as young as 10 years old in this room. Mad was also raped in this room and her child taken from her and sold into slavery.
I loved the scene where Augusta slaps Mad and Mad slaps her right back. She says, “We’re all niggers now.” I also loved the way they escaped at the end–by dressing like men, torching the house, and walking ahead of Sherman’s soldiers.
There’s one scene which seems to confuse viewers, probably because parts of that scene were cut from the film. The black man that Augusta shoots was a Union soldier too. But he was Mad’s boyfriend who was coming to warn them about Sherman’s march. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and died because of it.
8 out of 10 stars. Casting was perfect. When the film was in production it was said that Olivia Wilde was approached to star as Augusta. Thank God she didn’t take the role. She certainly would’ve ruined it. Not to mention she looks absolutely ancient and these were young girls. The older brother, played by Sam Worthington, was almost charming, but you could tell he was not quite right and so could Augusta. Most serial killers are like that, charming on the surface, but not right underneath.