Toronto True Crime Film Festival Review: MAYBE IF IT WERE A NICE ROOM (2016)

I’m not sure what I was expecting with a title like MAYBE IF IT WERE A NICE ROOM: something funny, maybe? Or something SAW-like. Honestly, I have no idea. What it was, however, was a short film with more weight and depth than most feature lengths out there. And with the world the way it is right now, every woman who watches this may get a shiver, a gag reflex, or an unwanted memory that floods them.

MAYBE IF IT WERE A NICE ROOM is profoundly simple: just a voice over some simple images: nice rooms, if you will. There are rooms with pictures, rooms with trinkets, rooms with tea sets and rooms with overgrowth. In contrast to these beautiful and soothing rooms are the words that tell a story without telling. While that seems to make no sense, there’s no other way to describe it. This woman is telling of her horrible experience and sexual assault through the eyes of the rooms.

It is amazing how an idea so simple can be so profound and with the #MeToo movement and sexual predators finally being outed, art like this hits closer to home than anyone ever hoped. It could be abduction, a party, a family member, or a trusted friend or mentor. This film could be anyone and that makes it terrifying and more real than any ghost story you could tell.

MAYBE IF IT WERE A NICE ROOM was written, directed, and produced by Alicia Harris. While the credits don’t name the narrator, I can only assume she is narrating as well. I have seen a lot of movies in my time, but few seem so weighted in such a short amount of time. At a modest 1:30 minutes, this short film packs it in.

I have to mention a trigger warning to anyone who watches this with past sexual abuse. While no abuse is shown, the emotions are blatant. For any man or woman who wants to peer into the world of a victim, watch this short film and listen to the words and see if you don’t feel the discomfort of knowing these things really do happen and much too often.

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