Review: “Room” Cracks Open Your Heart And Lets The Light In
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H Macy.
“Good morning lamp, good morning plant, good morning wardrobe”. Jack lives with his Ma and they love to play together, exercise together, cook meals together and do what normal five-year-old boy and their 24-year-old mothers do. Nevertheless their world is different than ours, because they live, for every second of every day, trapped in a room. Ma was kidnapped when she was 17-years-old and two years into her captivity she fell pregnant by her kidnapper and had Jack.
As we watch Ma and Jack navigate their lives in “Room”, we are slowly pulled into the claustrophobic world they live in. There is darkness all around, except for a single skylight, and with that light comes hope for Ma and Jack. It reminds Ma of a world she once lived in and loved. Room is worn down, like an old ragged shirt, but it still does its job. It still keeps them warm and entertained. If you saw the room as part of a house, you would consider it a modest but cozy place to live. However, it is not part of a house, it is the entire house and that thought plagues you for every minute of the film.
This film was adapted from the bestselling novel Room by Emma Donoghue. The entire story is told through the eyes of Jack and although the language is simple and inarticulate, it is highly effective. Emma Donoghue subsequently wrote the screenplay for the film as well, and she has transferred her novel with elegance and respect to the silver screen. Brie Larson (Ma) and Jacob Tremley (Jack) both give tour-de-force performances and their incredible work is the reason why this film is getting so much Oscar buzz.
The reason that this film is so effecting is because it makes you wonder – what would I do if I were trapped in a room for seven years? Worst of all – what would I do if I had to raise my child in there? Ma, played by the unconscionably talented Brie Larson, chooses to tell Jack that this is his world. That nothing else exists outside the walls of Room, and therefore he has had a reasonably normal upbringing. However, Ma lived outside of Room for 17 years before she was kidnapped. She knows there is a world out there and a family she is missing out on.
Now that Jack is old enough, Ma decides to tell him the truth about their situation and although it takes him a few days, he slowly starts to understand. They hatch an escape plan and as you watch what is happening on screen, you become increasingly riddled with anxiety. This leads to Ma and Jack living two lives throughout the film. One life is in Room, the other life is outside of Room, but both are equally terrifying.
When you have suffered from trauma, your brain shuts off awareness to everything you don’t need to know. During this two hour film, just like Ma and Jack’s, your brain shuts off to the sound of people slurping their drinks or noisily eating their popcorn. You become engrossed in the story that is playing out in front of you. Room, is the reason why people make movies. It transports you to a different place and changes your reality. Oh and one more thing. Brie Larson will be nominated and will very likely win the Oscar for Best Actress in her role of Ma. Yet the real winner on the night is us, because we are better for having seen her performance, and that is worth more than its weight in Oscar gold.