Love knows no boundaries.
Room opens on Jack’s world on his 5th birthday. To him, the universe is as expansive as the four walls he knows. Jack’s mother known simply as Ma (Brie Larson) is driven by one mission in her life, to shield him and protect him from the true and harsh realities of their life in spite of the harrowing circumstances.
I first heard about the book Room through a friend. She told me the concept and I was immediately intrigued and quickly added it to my Need to Read pile. But it had the reverse effect when I heard there was going to be a film adaptation. I was concerned how the distinct style and voice would transfer over. The wisest decision filmmakers and A24 made was to have the book’s author Emma Donoghue also write the screenplay for her bestselling novel. Her faithfulness to the original source is unmatched and her expertise in expanding upon the literature for film should be a basis for all future movie adaptations of novels.
For those unaware of the subject matter, Room is about a young woman being held by her kidnapper. She has been there for some time, long enough to have a five-year-old son named Jack. She creates a wondrous life for him in the confines of that 10×10 room in an effort to protect him from the horrors of their situation so may grow to be a happy child. What we the audience see is this life and the effect Jack’s curiosity has on Ma, spurring a desire to escape to the outside.
The beauty of Room lies in its unique perspective and the distinct mechanism through which it chooses to tell the story of its two characters, through the eyes and mind of a five-year-old child. In that regard, it is awe-inducing. In doing that, a film about several different simultaneous traumas is bearable when in reality it should be like living in a raw nerve. And still, the harrowing emotions these characters go through is palpable, going through the screen straight through your soul. There is a constant tension and quiet terror to Room, an anxiety that leaves you restless, wriggling in your seat as you desire to help the characters. I was left nauseous, an amazing feat given how restrained the film is and how perilous it may have been in someone else’s hands other than Lenny Abrahamson. He showcases the two sides of this story, inside and outside Room, with balanced finesse and an artist’s eye and accomplishes a film that is both tender and terrifying without being far-fetched or jarring.
You really can’t talk about Room without talking about its two stars: Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. Both of whom give outstanding performances with the former perhaps having the luck of earning the role of her career. With as many complex layers to the film as it has, it rarely resorts to telling and virtually relies entirely on the actors’ performances and the audiences’ abilities to observe minute details. The character of Ma is strong, vulnerable, traumatized, scared, desperate, hopeful, and angry, along with scores of other gentler emotions and Larson does it with a quiet grace and inherent awareness of her craft. Her commitment to the character is so honest that there is no Brie Larson.
You may not be ready for the intense subject matter of Room, and that is okay, but we implore you to give it a chance. Room is one of those films that will touch your soul and feel for your fellow man.
Room – Movie Review