Sunday, December 6, 2015


Based on Emma Donoghue's novel, Room is both heart-wrenching and heartwarming at the same time as the world of a five-year old boy is changed forever. The film opens with Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his mother Joy (Brie Larson) living together is a small room where the only daylight comes from a dirty skylight in the ceiling. Celebrating his fifth birthday, the room is all of the world Jack has ever known outside of television. To him Dora the Explorer is just as ethereal as trees, wide open spaces, animals, and other people.

The comings and goings of Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), who brings them groceries and occasionally spends the night with Joy, begins to reveal the truth of the mother and son's situation to both the audience and the young boy who struggles to understand. Abducted as a teenage girl, Joy has lived for years as a prisoner. Believing Jack is now old enough to be of help in an escape attempt, and to be in danger from Old Nick, Joy attempts to explain to truth of the outside world, a dreamlike reality that Jack can't quite wrap his brain around after being brought-up to believe nothing outside the room is real.

Spending an equal amount of time with the pair's life in the room and life afterwards dealing both the obvious and hidden effects on both mother and son and Joy's parents (Joan Allen and William H. Macy) who had long ago given up on ever seeing their daughter again, Room is an emotionally-charged tale of struggle and survival as both Joy and Jack attempt to adjust to life outside of captivity. Director Lenny Abrahamson gets the most out of young Jacob Tremblay and Brie Larson (as we've come to expect when she chooses strong dramatic roles in independent films) is amazing.

While dealing with the darkness of the entire situation you wouldn't expect Room to be as bright and hopeful as it is. That's a credit to both Abrahamson and his young star who lights up the screen. Just as the darkest moments are in some small way hopeful so are the happiest scenes tinged with melancholy for the horrendous crime done to this family. The result is an amazing piece of filmmaking told largely from the perspective of a young child who is only beginning to grasp the hard truths about the world his mother has successfully kept from him despite her desperate circumstances.

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