Cyndi Williams’s performance in Kyle Henry’s Room is a searing articulation of post-traumatic stress disorder. This isn’t the first film to wrestle with our emotional anxieties in these terror-alert times but it may be the first to suggest these worries aren’t at all new, but rather a distinctly American strain of disaffection exposed and impacted by the shock of 9/11. Henry evokes Julia’s crisis profoundly through rhythmic scenes of her workaday exasperation—always arriving late at the bingo parlor she moonlights at and butting heads with her unsympathetic boss—and defeated romantic life. Small scenes, like Julia reaching for her husband’s hand, then his tummy, suggest a person ready to cave from the weight of the world pressing hard against them. Henry goes on to diagnose his main character’s crisis through an overriding metaphor: a vast room or loft—perhaps a deserted factory—that appears to Julia in dizzying flashes that cause fainting spells. He lays this vision on thick and corny at times, but in Julia’s existential journey from Houston to New York unravels a corrective to Madonna’s “I Love New York.” For Julia, homilies like “At least you got each other” no longer cut it, but in the head-trippy state of the union address that closes the film, Henry philosophically implies that we may be a nation politically divided but one whose red and blue need to realize that we still inhabit the same space.
- The 7th Floor
- 73 min
- Kyle Henry
- Kyle Henry
- Cyndi Williams, Kenneth Wayne Bradley, Alexandra Kiester, Hannah Nicholas, Jacqui Cross, Marco Parella, Gretchen Krich, J. Shannon Weaver
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