Starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Tom McCamus, William H. Macy
“Room” is the original and unique cinematic experience I have been searching for all year long. There are very few films that I believe knowing less about, provide a greater experience, but this is one. You won’t find any spoilers in this review, so keep reading. What you do need to know, is that “Room” is a thrilling, heartbreaking, and emotional experience, unlike anything you will find anywhere else. “Room” could be put alongside small cinematic gems like “Lars and the Real Girl” or “Take Shelter”, films that defy their genre traditions and become cult classics. “Room” is an experience, thanks to author and screenwriter Emma Donoghue who used a real story from the news, and adapted it into a really powerful piece of fiction.
Joy (Brie Larson) and Jack (Tremblay) live inside a small room. They have all the basics necessary for daily life like a bathtub, a sink, kitchen, heating. In “Room”, they have one skylight, and no windows. Jack is celebrating his fifth birthday, and we see the disappointment on his face when his young mother cannot produce birthday candles. Jack looks like a girl with his long hair, and his only understanding of the outside world is what his mother tells him or what he sees on television. They receive food and other necessities on a weekly bases from Old Nick. Ma decides that Jack is now old enough to know the truth about Room…
There is so much emotion within the story that it borders on bewilderment.
I don’t think watching the trailer or learning more about the film will dilute the experience. There is so much to discover here about human psychology that repeat viewings will likely allow the viewer even more depth. There is so much emotion within the story that it borders on bewilderment. Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”, “The Spectacular Now”) delivers a delicate and endlessly fascinating performance. I know I am being vague on purpose, but this role explores a particular set of circumstances that I haven’t seen portrayed in such detail on screen. As good as Larson is, likely an Oscar worthy role, it’s young Tremblay who grounds the film. We see everything through his eyes and point of view; often shocking and painful for the viewer.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Lenny Abrahamson’s previous film “Frank”, although it was unique in its special way. His work here on “Room” display’s the sort of depth and intimacy I have come to know with Jeff Nichols (director of “Take Shelter”, “Mud” projects). Donoghue does an amazing job conveying how the mother and son have different experiences with “Room”. Not since Todd Field’s “In the Bedroom” (2001) have I experienced a film that understood the importance of seemingly minor or mundane details in the larger picture. It’s the type of film that will generate long discussions about its subject matter.
An unforgettable cinematic experience that will leave the viewer breathless. One of the year’s greatest achievements.