Room | ★★★★★
A mother and her son are trapped in a room and can’t escape in the very dramatic and suspenseful film ‘Room.’
‘Room’ will take your breath away. It’s one of the most talked about films of the year, deservedly so, with performances that are top notch. It’s an adaptation of a novel called ‘Room’ written by Emma Donoghue, who also wrote the script. And what a script it is. Although the film takes place in just a few locations, it feels like it goes far and wide.
It’s a plot that could be ripped from the headlines: a young teenage girl was kidnapped at the age of 17 by a stranger and is held captive in a shed in his backyard with the young son who was born out of an unwanted sexual relationship with him – they call him ‘Old Nick’ (Sean Bridgers). Brie Larson plays Joy, and Jacob Tremblay is her son Jack, and both are superb. They survive in that shed, with grey concrete walls. it’s a room (or as they simply call it ‘room’), where they are held, prisoner.
It’s got a skylight, a kitchen, a toilet next to the bed, a closet where Jack sleeps, a plant, and a mouse that pops out every now and then. And five-year Jack knows of no other life than the life he’s led in the room. He doesn’t really know anything about the world outside room, and he thinks that what he sees on television is make-believe, and not real people acting. When Old Nick pays visits to room for his sexual pleasure with Joy, Jack hides in the closet, and Joy refuses to let Nick touch him, or even to see him. But Joy has an idea that might work to get her son out of the room, and when the idea takes place and works, Jack is suddenly thrust out into the world. If you’ve seen the trailer you know that Jack and his mother have escaped the room, but it’s the five or so minutes when this happens that is the most suspenseful and compelling five minutes of this film, of perhaps any film, you will have seen for years. But Jack has to adjust to the outside world, a world he’s never been exposed to. This includes being exposed to other people, including his grandparents, the divorced Nancy (Joan Allen) and Robert (William H. Macy), and Nancy’s new husband Doug (Matt Gordon). And Joy has to adjust being out of the room as well – it’s an adjustment that’s not an easy one. Told from Jack’s point of view, we see through his very young eyes this brave new world that he knows nothing about, grandparents that he’s meeting for the first time, and more important leaving the room where he had lived all of his short life.
‘Room’ is a story about survival, emotions, and the tight relationship between a mother and her young son. It’s masterfully directed by Lenny Abrahamson who is responsible for holding our attention throughout the entire movie. It’s also credit to the actors who bring this story to life. Told from Jack’s perspective who is in every scene, we see his freedom as a rebirth of sorts, with Joy being his world in and out of the room. Only seven when he was cast, Tremblay captures, and holds us, in his every scene. It’s incredible that a young boy his age has so much range that he displays in the film. He’s simply incredible. It’s a shame that he didn’t receive a BAFTA, Oscar or Golden Globe nomination for this film, it’s the performance of the year. Larson is excellent as Joy. Larson rose to fame in her award-winning performance in 2013’s Short Term 12.
She just deservedly won Best Actress at the Golden Globe Awards and is now the front runner for the Best Actress Oscar. But it’s Tremblay who steals the movie. He’s simply just amazing. ‘Room’ has been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar – deservedly so.
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.