Into the Forest
|Into the Forest|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Patricia Rozema|
|Written by||Patricia Rozema|
|Based on||Into the Forest|
by Jean Hegland
|Music by||Max Richter|
|Edited by||Matthew Hannam|
Into the Forest is a 2015 Canadian drama film written and directed by Patricia Rozema. The film is based on the book written by Jean Hegland published in 1996. The film stars Ellen Page, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, Callum Keith Rennie, Michael Eklund, and Sandy Sidhu.
In the near future, two teenage sisters, Nell and Eva, live in a remotely located home with their father, Robert, in a forest. There is a massive, continent-wide power outage that appears to be part of a region-wide technological collapse. Nell goes to the car to get the headlamp but fails to close the hatch door, left open all night the car battery is drained, so they are left stranded for days. Eventually their father gets the car working and they make it to the nearest town where they buy supplies including gas from a man named Stan who's guarding the store. Later, Eva attends dance class while her sister meets up with Eli, a boy she has a crush on. Returning home, they see a stranded car and the girls' father offers to help the passengers, but after they brandish guns the family move on. The father says they will not return to town until the power is restored, but Nell, wanting to see Eli again, throws a fit at this news. Later, while cutting down a tree a bolt on the chainsaw comes loose and he accidentally cuts his leg badly. The girls hear his screams and run to find him, Eva attempts to hold pressure on the wound while Nell uses a belt as a tourniquet. Knowing he is bleeding to death, he tells the girls to take care of each other and love one another. They stay with his body throughout the night, when animals are lingering in the darkness, the next day they bury him where he died in the forest so the wild pigs can't eat him.
Two months pass and the girls are low on food. Eli arrives one night, having walked there looking for Nell. He says the surrounding houses are abandoned. Eva is upset that Eli is there using their limited supplies and tells Nell not to get pregnant. After Nell and Eli sleep together in Nell's fort in a giant hallowed out tree trunk in the forest, he says there may still be power and order in Boston. He convinces Nell to go with him. They leave but Eva refuses to go with them, after spending the night sitting awake on the road while Eli sleeps, Nell turns back unwilling to leave Eva. Nell researches plants for food and medicine, and forages. Nell then has a night of celebration when she confirms she is not pregnant after her tryst with Eli. One day while Nell is in the forest foraging, Eva is surprised by Stan while she is chopping wood outside the house. He assaults and rapes her before stealing most of the remaining gas and the car. The girls board up the house to prevent further scavengers and looters from arriving, and Eva stays within doors. Traumatized, Eva lays in bed and refuses to eat. A few weeks later Nell gets injured trying to move a large stone and Eva rushes out to help her. Back inside Eva begins to massage Nell's back to help her heal but breaks down sobbing and tells Nell she's drowning under black waves of fear. The next morning Eva finally eats but then starts throwing up, and soon realizes she is pregnant as a result from her rape. To Nell's surprise, Eva has decided to keep the baby, saying that she doesn't want to lose anything more.
Eight months later, the power has still not been restored. Nell is taking care of the very pregnant Eva and learns how to hunt and kill animals to get Eva vitamin B12 because Eva is anemic. During a bad rain storm, several beams of the roof break and Eva goes into labor. The sisters flee for Nell's hollowed out tree stump fort, where Eva gives birth to a baby boy. Returning to their ruined home, Eva who won the rest of the gas in a bet on the baby's gender, decides to burn down the house so that anyone passing will think that they died in a fire. Before setting the house ablaze, they collect a few precious items and keepsakes, and begin to walk into the darkened forest to set up camp at the hollow tree trunk and to raise Eva's baby.
- Ellen Page as Nell
- Evan Rachel Wood as Eva
- Max Minghella as Eli
- Callum Keith Rennie as Robert
- Michael Eklund as Stan
- Wendy Crewson as Mom
Director Megan Griffiths was considered to direct, but was ultimately passed on by the producers. On October 21, 2013, Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood joined the cast. Principal photography and production began on July 28, 2014. On August 27, 2014, Max Minghella and Callum Keith Rennie joined the cast.
The film premiered in the Special Presentation section at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival on September 12, 2015. Shortly after, A24 Films and DirecTV Cinema acquired U.S distribution rights to the film, it premiered on DirecTV before showing theaters. In December 2015, the film was announced as part of TIFF's annual Canada's Top Ten screening series of the ten best Canadian films of the year. It was released theatrically in 15 theaters in Canada on June 3, 2016 and in the United States on July 29. The film played for one week in 15 theaters where it grossed nearly $10k.
Into the Forest received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 78%, based on 46 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Into the Forest grounds its familiar apocalyptic framework with a relatable look at the bond between two sisters, compellingly brought to life by Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood." On Metacritic, the film holds a score of 59 out of 100, based on 18 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
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