"Room" Movie Review
Five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has spent his whole life in a one-room shed with his mom, Joy (Brie Larson). His only window to the outside world is a small skylight in the ceiling. The reason why is that Joy was kidnapped seven years before when she was seventeen by a man she calls Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). The shed has one bed, a small sink, a couple of chairs that have to be folded away when Joy and Jack sleep on the one bed in the room. They have a tiny television that serves as their one source of entertainment. Ma tries to fill Jack's small world with as much fun and learning as she can, but it can be frustrating to talk to a small child who doesn't know what the outside world looks like. She has to explain what is fake and what is real as they watch TV together.
Their days and nights are filled dreading the visits that Old Nick makes from time to time. On those nights, Jack goes and sleeps on the floor of their small closet, trying not to listen to what is happening to his mother. Old Nick controls their world, bringing them food and medicine, doling out punishment, either by violence to Joy or cutting off their electricity and heat in the winter. Joy finally hits a breaking point and hatches a plan for Jack to escape. It's risky for Jack and could mean harsh retribution from Old Nick, but Joy decides to go for it. Will her plan work?
From the opening frame, you are pulled into the strange and small world of Joy and Jack. Director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Emma Donoghue have crafted a film that immerses you in their world. We very quickly learn Joy's daily problems, living in a space that is only 10 x 10 with a child who doesn't understand just how big the outside world is. They must both cope 24/7 without a break from the other. Adding to the tension is the overbearing feeling that Old Nick can show up at any moment, bringing chaos, pain, and torment. Abrahamson places the camera from the viewpoint of Jack, making the room seem a little misshapen and sometimes much scarier. Director of Photography Danny Cohen makes the room seem claustrophobic, but at the same time it can be filled with the love of a mother and child. It's a balance that the characters on screen experience as well as the viewing audience. Stephen Rennicks's score is one of the best of recent films. There is a scene in the middle of the film where you hear nothing but music that swells, creating tension in an already tense scene.
I think Brie Larson is one of the best young actresses in Hollywood, and she gives another brilliant performance in this film, but the film is made by the performance of Tremblay. He more than holds his own with Larson and is the core of the movie. Jack is the center of the film, and it takes an impressive actor to pull it off, which he does with flying colors. Everything we see and hear is from the viewpoint of Tremblay's character, which makes his performance even more remarkable. Tremblay plays Jack as a loving son who isn't afraid to push back when he feels he is being wronged. It takes a strong personality to grasp a role like this, and Tremblay gives an intelligent performance that while filled with childlike wonder, is also brimming with emotion that is beyond his young age.
Without giving anything away, "Room" is let down a little by its 2nd half but it's not too hard a fall, and the film doesn't disappoint with its ending. However, it's the performances throughout the film of Larson and especially Tremblay that make this movie so emotional and powerful. Both actors give us Oscar worthy performances that give us everything they have and that, in this case, is quite a lot. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
"Room" is playing exclusively in Atlanta at UA Tara Cinemas 4
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