CAPSULE: Joyce, a woman recently widowed, finds she has been left deeply in debt by her late husband. Desperate for a source of income, she rents out her house as a bed and breakfast. She finds herself getting involved in the private lives of her guests. In some cases she likes what her snooping finds, but when she finds some people she does not like she interferes in ways that are most unwelcome. Tommy Stovall (SEDONA) directs a small cast led by Lin Shaye and by spectacular Arizona scenery. ROOM FOR RENT is a film that has few unfamiliar plot turns or touches. But that leaves open multiple possible paths and plotlines that the film may be following. Where the plot is going will very likely leave the viewer some guessing which path it will take. Directed by: Tommy Stovall; written by: Stuart Flack. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10
In Sedona, Arizona, life can be as beautiful as the majestic geology around the town. (Tommy Stovall, director of SEDONA, makes no secret of his love of the town and its people.) But life is definitely no longer beautiful for Joyce, played by Lin Shaye. Joyce combats her loneliness with romance novels. She lost her husband three months back and is only now discovering just how much debt he left her, $8200 or more.
Joyce appears at first to have few saleable skills. As the film title suggests, she knows how to care for her house and how to cook so the perfect plan for her is to turn her house into a small bed and breakfast.
At first that works well for her, but she feels she needs to know more about her guests and their private lives. That conflict leads her once again into trouble. Do her guests have a right to privacy or does Joyce have the right to know what goes on in her own home? Joyce investigates one of her guests even to the point of attempting to seduce him by asking him to retrieve a newspaper for her and hand it to her while she is covered by nothing but soap bubbles in a bathtub.
Lin Shaye has a good face for just this sort of film. She projects a sort of brittle vulnerability. Even when Joyce is wrong, the viewer is pulled into her defenselessness. I rate ROOM TO RENT a high +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.
[This 2019 film should not be confused with the 2017 Canadian film of the same name.]
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6747818/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/room_for_rent_2019
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2019 Mark R. Leeper