The term sheltered childhood is an all too literal one for 5 year old Jack, one of the two protagonists in Room. He has never step foot outside of the shed in which he was born. He lives there with his mother, known simply to him as Ma, who has lived there since being kidnapped 7 years ago. She and Jack have come to name the place in which they are trapped simply as Room.
A plot such as Room’s, would, you’d presume be the tale of an innocent young girl being trapped and abused by a monster, who in the movie is known as Old Nick but that is far from what this movie is. Room is a story about a mother and her child and the impact our upbringing can have on us. The two have nothing to cling to except each other. They are linked to the world through a TV set and a skylight- the only exercise they get is running between the confined walls and a small yoga routine Ma has devised. Jack is unaware of a world outside of Room, he believes that there is only Room and nothing more. That is until Ma devises an escape plan that will take the pair out of this hell.
Room is, first and foremost anchored by its two phenomenal central performances. Brie Larson looks nailed on to take the Best Actress statuette at the Oscars- her performance takes hold and early on and never lets you out of its grip. Perhaps even more impressing though is young Jacob Tremblay, who was only 8 years old at the time of filming. Jack illuminates Room- his child-like observations, reminiscent of Quvenzhale Wallis’ breakthrough performance in Beasts of the Southern Wild three years ago help ease the pain of the situation. Room is at times an extremely gruelling watch, one made easier by Jack’s often humorous observations. What starts off as an extremely bleak movie eventually turns into one that will melt even the darkest of hearts. On four occasions during the movie I welled up and once I nearly broke my fingers squeezing the arms of my chair so much. Room is the very definition of an emotional rollercoaster.
Lenny Abrahamson, who takes charge of the movie handles Emma Donoughue’s adapted script with precision- bringing the novel on which the movie is based to life expertly. Room is a rarity- a film that is arguably better than the novel on which it is based. Abrahamson handles Jack’s adaptation to the world with suitable poignancy- one sequence in particular, when Jack is first thrown into the world from which he has been kept for so long is thrilling stuff.
With a lot of this year’s awards contenders proving disappointing Room is the one film you can not miss. It’s two hours of having your emotions thrown all the over place but it is also the most poignant and beautiful movie released in 2016 so far.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐