The Letter Room (2020)

Photo by Brett Garwood on Unsplash

This film stars Oscar Isaac’s mustache. I’m kidding. No, but really. His stache really shines, it’s a character in itself. Moving on…

I got the chance to watch this Oscar-nominated short at the San Diego International ShortsFest. I am always intrigued when I see a “big movie star” appear in a short film. It’s usually because their character is interesting and unique, which is likely what drew them to play the part. This film is no exception. The specific storyline drew me in right away, but again, the stache definitely helped.

Salaud Morisset on YouTube

The film’s themes are connection and corruption. How faces and numbers have stories behind them, especially if you are willing to take the time and look a little closer.

After being assigned the job of reading the letters sent to prisoners before delivering them to their rightful recipients, Richard starts to develop a close connection to the inmates and their family members. He starts to understand their life stories, and their lives outside of prison.

At one point in the film, Richard nervously folds a napkin at a restaurant while waiting for Rosita, a prisoner’s partner to arrive. Richard went to Rosita’s house to make sure she was ok after he read a threatening message she sent to her partner on death row. He went to her house on his own will, not because it was the prison’s policy, but because he genuinely wanted to make sure she was ok.

With this short run time, I recommend you give this film a watch. It challenges your idea of empathy and provides a new perspective on a situation that I have not seen explored before in a short. While Richard is not a prisoner in the prison, it can be inferred that he also leads a lonely life, spending much time alone and not feeling connected to others. Thus, it makes sense that he would feel a natural draw to reading the letters because it would make him feel a part of a family and friendships that he does not have in his own life.

Read more about the film here on IMDb.

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A

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