Spoiler-ish. But If you have seen the trailer, then I really won’t spoil anything for you here.
I finally got around to watching ROOM last night. I’ve been putting it off for a long time ,partially due to the subject matter , but also due to the genre. I’m not the biggest fan of drama, and when there are so many films queuing up ,films like this are easily put at the back of the line.
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Emma Donoghue, based on her novel of the same name, the film tells the story of Joy (Brie Larson) and her 5-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who have been held captive for seven years in an enclosed space, who finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.
The story is very well told, and the actors here do a damn fine job portraying these characters . Much has been said of Brie Larson´s performance , which is without doubt an award winning performance. But for me it’s the performance by Jacob Tremblay that really caught me by surprise. More often than not, child actors are terrible. And in a film like this, which above all else is about the relationship between parent and child , this movie could have easily fallen apart if they had cast a “Jake Lloyd”.
Jacob Tremblay’s only previous outing into film before ROOM was as Blue Winslow in the live-action animated film The Smurfs 2, and I seriously doubt that the kid learned anything of significance acting wise on that show. But in Room this kid is incredible. He displays the entire spectrum of emotion damn near flawlessly, and throughout the film I kept thinking this kid would have given Leo a run for his money in the Best Actor category.
As I said , my trepidation about this film was the subject matter. There have been some well documented cases the last few years about situations like this , which unfortunately, and for most people unfathomably is a very real thing. But if you are having those same feeling and putting off watching this film for the same reason, then rest assured that this is NOT a horror movie. It’s a very warm, and moving depiction about the relationship between a mother and her child who just happen to be in a very messed up situation. We get the sense that the real horror of the situation has preceded the events in which we find the characters when the movie begins. Joy has been in the ROOM for 7 years, and In this time she has given birth to her son Jack , who has never known anything about the outside world. Joy has deliberately mislead Jack about the reality of their situation,and indeed about the world at large, which as far as Jack is concerned is all tv-magic. But at the outset of the film , having just “celebrated” Jack´s fifth birthday , she endeavours to explain the situation they are in , in order to enlist his help in an attempt to escape their dire predicament. The scenes between Joy and Jack at this stage are exceptionally good. And the scenes where she tries to explain the difference between real, and tv-real will resonate with just about anyone who has ever tried to explain anything to a five year old child.
The second half of the film is about Joy and Jack acclimatizing to the real world after being kept hostage for so long. Here Tremblay again outshines Larson , as all of it is shown from Jack’s point of view. Having never been outside of the Room , never seeing the sky, a tree , a car, or other people , the sensory overload for this kid is brilliantly portrayed.
The supporting cast shines here as well , with Joan Allen playing Joy´s mother , Tom McCamus playing her new husband and William H Macy playing Joy´s father. In truth Macy has very little screentime. The disappearance of Joy devastated her parents marriage, and her father is the one who seems least equipped to deal with her return. But the film does not get lost by dwelling too much on these supporting characters. It wisely keeps the focus on Joy and Jack throughout, and I can not stress enough how good this kid is from start to finish. It really is HIS movie.
So if you have not had a chance to see the film yet I highly recommend it. I would be damn surprised if Brie Larson doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Actress at the Academy Awards, and Jacob Tremblay……. did i mention how great he his yet ? Well he is !
I will be watching this movie again, as I’m sure it will be an even better experience the second time around.