"A one of a kind - a deeply moving experience"
From the dark, stuffy opening scene to the seemingly unendurably bright outside world, Brie Larson singlehandedly carries this film with utter aptitude. Attacked, abducted and held hostage in a ‘room’ for seven years, Joy (Brie Larson) is repeatedly raped by the sadistic Nick and left to rot in her own filth. A few years later, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is born into this dystopian environment, with a mother who desperately wants to shield her child from this unbearable situation she has been forced into.
Stemming from Emma Donoghue’s harrowing, profound narrative, Room is surprisingly upbeat despite its rather gloomy subject matter. Just as his ‘Ma’ equally loves him as she becomes infuriated with her infantile son; Jack goes from cute to instantly irritating in seconds. Yet, freaking out and doing outrageously silly things are their only pastimes. As Jack celebrates his fifth birthday, curiosity grows stronger and his mother simply can’t lie about their situation anymore. As she rapidly reaches boiling point one risky escape plan is hatched from her desire to provide her son everything he really deserves.
It is both heartbreaking and joyous to see Jack experience the world with baby eyes. This new and vast environment that we are oh so familiar with may just be the scariest thing he has ever seen to the point of driving his mother, grandparents and every viewer to tears when he says he misses ‘room’ and wants to go visit it. Director Lenny Abrahamson succeeds in providing us with a distinct contrast in colours, ranging from dark stained tones to the vibrant colours of the planet we all take for granted in the latter half of the feature. Paced perfectly with a powerful score from Stephen Rennicks, as the narrative unfolds the distinction between blissfully happy to severely depressed is accentuated. Sinister tones drive the moments of hope as you immediately know that this hell isn’t quite over yet.
Although illustrated incredibly well, Room sets out a clear path and follows it closely. Being forced into an ordinary life just as quickly as she was ripped away from normal adolescent years, general life is too much for Joy to fathom. Thrown into family life, accepting the fact your parents are divorced, the pestering press, the pressure of simply being a mother in the modern world really takes its toll. This young mother was deprived of her teenage years and this child has been cooped up, not being able to run around in the park or eat ice-cream, or simply be a kid.
Choosing to illustrate this tale through the eyes of a child leaves scope for an adult’s thoughts to waver but doesn’t entirely dilute the intensity crafted. This emotionally-charged tale allows Larson to shine and also provides space for Trembley as little longhaired Jack to showcase his budding skills. Flipping from insufferably annoying to fragile and scared, this is an ideal role for a child actor to explore their talent.
Above all, this is a heartfelt and beautiful film with fantastic performances that bring virtually every emotion to our screens. A one of a kind that, no matter how well described, witnessing it for one’s self is a deeply moving experience.