Archive Review: Room (2015)

The role that won Brie Larson an Oscar, this film is heart breaking and beautiful and worthy of all its praise

Certificate: 15

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Screenwriter: Emma Donoghue

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

ROOM tells the extraordinary story of Jack, a spirited 5-year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted mother. Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical–they are trapped–confined to a 10-by-10-foot space that Ma has euphemistically named Room. Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. – Written by A24

I have been less than enthusiastic about Brie Larson in the past, I never thought she was a bad actor, but I have never been moved or enthralled by any of her performances.  This film showed me that I was far quick to judge, and I would implore anyone with doubts as to her acting chops, and I have seen more than a few around the interwebs, to do the same.  Her performance in this film completely blew me away.  She was emotional, and heart-breaking and captivating to watch.  It was a well-deserved Oscar win in my opinion, and I look forward to seeing her take on more challenging roles again. 

The story is really about Jack, played fantastically by young actor Jacob Tremblay.  Seeing the world through his eyes is fascinating and at time scary.  It is his story we are following, and his discovery and development in the world,  and watching his performance really did make me tear up  ore than once, and I don’t cry easily in films. 

While the second half of the film mostly takes place in your run of the mill suburban neighbourhood,  the direction and cinematography of the first half of the film are what set the mood for the whole film.  Filmed exclusively inside ‘Room’ the shots are hauntingly stark about the conditions of their life, and really imparts a feeling of hopelessness and claustrophobia. 

The second half of the film is centred around our characters coming to terms with all that has happened with them.  In the beginning Ma is excited and enthusiastic almost, to be back in the world, while understandable Jack is overwhelmed and scared of everything.  As the story moves along, Jack begins to adapt to his new life and it is Ma or ‘Joy’ that we see finally start to crack under the weight of her experience.  After staying strong for her son for so long, her gradual breakdown in the third act is so hard to see, as she has been such a positive force throughout. 

If you haven’t had a chance to see this yet, I would highly recommend you do, it is a bit of a weepie one, but full of spectacular performances and a great story.

‘Room’ is available on Amazon Prime Video or Netflix UK now

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