Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allan, William H Macy, Sean Bridgers
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Adapted from the best selling novel by Emma Donoghue, Room is the story of a 5 year old boy, who lives in a room with his mother. Since this is the only world he knows, he cannot know that something is very wrong about this, and the man, Old Nick who holds them there. But we know.
It’s a very disturbing premise for a film, but at the same time, it humanises the stories of people who are kidnapped and held as slaves for years. We often see the outside of this story, in the news, but this film tells the inside.
A film of two halves, it starts with life inside the room, which is some kind of shed, and the repulsion of the visits of Nick, who has held and raped the woman for 7 years. The second half is about life after. How the mother and child respond to trying to settle back into real life after a daring escape. It all sounds pretty awful, right? Well, it is, and yet the film is full of beauty. Shown through the child’s eyes, it’s about discovery of the world, and the love he and his mother have for each other. That love kept her alive and hopeful through terrible years of… well, terrible years. The film shows the pain, but because Jack is not a broken creature, the film does not break us.
The two leads, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as Ma and Jack, are absolutely incredible. They seem to have a very natural rapport with each other, and their performances are heart felt, never self conscious. It’s worth seeing for that alone.
I feel like I had to wait a long time to be ready to watch this film, because of the subject matter, and perhaps some of you will feel the same, or may never want to see it. Although it’s rated R because of what it’s about, and it is certainly confronting, it doesn’t labour it’s points or seek to be sensationalist. It’s about survival and the mother child bond, and how to come to terms with trauma and what it does to us and the people around us, but not focusing on the trauma itself gratuitously.
See It If: It’s a sad and hopeful film, with excellent performances, but not for everyone. I’m glad I watched it, but I think soft hearts may prefer something less intense.