The American Civil War is a time period that's been told almost exclusively from the male perspective and has most often centered on Northerners (winners do write history), so to see a story about southern women enduring the brutality of the war's end is rather surprising. What makes it satisfying, and a truly excellent film, is how sharp the storytelling is. Writer Julia Hart uses the small story of three women, two sisters (Brit Marling and Hailee Steinfeld) and their young slave (Muna Otaru), to capture the massive effects the war had on the southern way of life, but never hits you over the head with its larger themes. Instead, it tells its story almost as a home- invasion thriller, with a slow-burning sense of dread filling every ounce of the runtime. Bleak, tense, and at times difficult to watch, The Keeping Room isn't fun, but you'll be happy you saw it.