Sunday, November 15, 2015


Movie Name: Room
Year of Release: 2015
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Stars: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy, Tom McCamus, Amanda Brugel, Wendy Crewson, Cas Anvar
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 8

Synopsis & Review:
Director Lenny Abrahamson is back, after the well received "Frank" from 2014. "Room" has been premiering through a series of different festivals, and has collected a series of accolades (namely at the Toronto Film Festival where it won the People's Choice Award). The film is an adaptation of Emma Donoghue's novel and it follows the story of a young boy by the name of Jack, who has lived inside a tiny room (in reality a tool shed) since he was born. Jack's been in that space with his mom, a young woman by the name of Joy who was kidnapped when she was 17, and has been kept in that space since then (and been raped and physically hurt by her captor). Jack's mother has gone to extreme lengths to make sure he isn't hurt or harmed by their captor, but the entrapment is closing in on them and she devises a plan to make sure they are able to escape their situation. It's up to Jack to carry through the plan, venturing into a world he's never seen and somehow find the help for them to be rescued.
"Room" is a film that though presented with a bleak premise, manages to be simultaneously heartwarming and in the end, life affirming. The horrors of being kidnapped and raped for years, are presented in a way that is not exploratory - the film focuses instead on the child, someone who doesn't know the world, who hasn't seen anything, aside from what his mother has told him and from what he has seen on television. This is a child whose social skills are limited to the interactions with his mother, a young woman who has been corralled in a situation that has pushed her to the very limit of existence (for all intended purposes, she has disappeared for 7 years, and is likely considered dead). The director successfully showcases Jack's point of view, filled with his daily tasks and the reality of what surrounds him, activities that make him feel safe and secure, whereas the toll of confinement is really seen through the eyes of his mother, who is wasting away further and further. The film features three fantastic performances, namely Jacob Tremblay as Jack, Joan Allen as Nancy and particularly Brie Larson as Ma, who gives a truly mature and nuanced performance, simultaneously feral in her protection of her son, but also bruised and battered by years of abuse and a childhood of her own that got stolen. The cinematography from Danny Cohen is fantastic, capturing the gray tones and slow richer palettes as the characters emerge from their room. A very good film worth watching.