Femme Filmmakers Festival 7 Review: The Letter Room

Year: 2022

Runtime: 30 minutes

Director/Writer: Elvira Lind

Actors: Oscar Isaac, Alia Shawkat, Brian Petsos, John Douglas Thompson, Kenneth Heaton, Eileen Galindo

By Rosa Parra

“The Letter Room” (2020) is a short film directed and written by Elvira Lind. Starring Oscar Isaac this film follows a correction officer who is assigned to the letter room where he must inspect every letter. Then suddenly he becomes interested in a letter and becomes a little too invested.

This 30-minute film manages to encapsulate the various mindsets some prisoners have as they’re on Death Row. Some still anxiously await letters from their family members while another prisoner, who does receive letters regularly, decides to never write back. In fact, he never reads the letters. These letters written by Rosita (Alia Shawkat) have poetic and sexual arousal tones to them. Richard (Isaac) must read every letter before giving them to the inmates (as a preventative measure) and the letters Rosita writes catch his attention. 

This was a compelling look at what some officers may experience just like Richard. At first glance, it can initially come off as invasive and crossing various lines, but on the other hand at the end of the day, we’re human beings. We have feelings and emotions and many times we often wonder about people and scenarios we aren’t supposed to. The only difference maker is whether or not we act on those feelings/emotions. Doing so may lead to some dangerous outcomes. 

Overall, this movie is strongly acted and nicely paced. It’s elaborate in its story and it ends with a hopeful message.    

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