Stunningly both raw yet dreamlike, this drama is astounding and my stand out of 2015. It’s lifted ever further by such fascinating performances, an engaging story of layers and focused beautiful dialogue.
Joy (Brie Larson) has been held captive in ‘room’ for seven years, with her is five year old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who only knows of this space. Joy is desperate to get out and one day comes up with a way to hopefully and finally escape the room’s confinement.
It feels in some way like a movie of two halves, both brilliant may I point out. The first half resembles a crime thriller mixed with the fantastical way in which Jacob sees his world. Then the second half wonderfully shifts into a heart-wrenching drama of family and trauma. Of course both these feelings drift into each half and bring this film alive. I honestly love this film, it’s an engaging tale of love and tragedy sparked by such a simple yet amazingly created premise.
Lenny Abrahamson directs this almost two hour feature with a graceful touch that really does well in following how little Jack views both ‘room’ and then the outside world. Abrahamson sure demonstrates how he can add tension to the story too, the moments when the captor comes in are dark and as Jack tries to escape, your gut is churning, internally shouting for Jack to succeed. The outside world is shot with realism and less close ups than in the room, as if we’re pulling back to see how everyone else has been affected by Joy’s kidnapping.
Adapted from her own novel, Emma Donoghue writes this movie with an obvious handle on how to develop the pure emotional strings of Joy and Jack. The opening and then continuous voice overs just show us how well Donoghue can write, Jack’s narrative of how he talks about the room and then our world is bliss to listen to, like a magical language almost. I can only say that a couple of moments with the kidnapper are odd in terms of him not being more careful, also I’d have liked to seen more story with the darker elements bleeding into the second half and more of her ordeal. Though on the whole, this is a gritty yet gorgeous idea that sits with both trauma and discovery in great measure.
Stephen Rennicks is the music man and his score is so delicately mastered that it adds fantastic emotional weight to the story being told. The rise in orchestra as they hatch their escape plan is perfect, the swells to pull on our hearts are pitched just right that did its job in making me cry more than throughout this movie. Yes, for a rare time, a non animation got me to shed tears!
It’s just a stunning life-affirming story that needs to be seen, I’d seen the trailer only twice and knew I’d be in for some emotional whirlwind but I wasn’t expecting such a fresh, inspiring and genuine tale. The mother/son relationship is so believable and fraught at times, yet their love is undeniable. There’s laughs scattered at times just to lighten the load and add to the naive nature of Jack’s view on space, heaven and television. Powerful seems like such a weak word to describe this film.
Brie Larson is sublime in this, a stirring pillar of heartfelt emotion, trying to juggle both her and her son’s feelings. I hope to all that’s holy that she’s rewarded with a nom for an Academy award. Jacob Tremblay worried me at first, he spooked me into thinking he’d be grating but he quickly proved what an incredible birth of talent he has. The two of them together is unforgettable and effortless that you get wrapped up without even knowing so.
‘Room’ has such a gripping honesty and ticking sense of tension and drama. It’s shattering subject matter is captivating and from start to end this film is profound and most assuredly one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time.