Room Film Review

February 05, 2016

Room tells the extraordinary story of Jack, a spirited 5-year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted mother. Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical--they are trapped--confined to a windowless, 10-by-10-foot space that Ma has euphemistically named Room. Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack's curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma's resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. (via IMDb)

Room focuses on Ma, a young woman whose life was turned into a nightmare when she was kidnapped by a man named Old Nick, who proceeded to lock her in a shed outside his house until her son Jack (who she conceived in captivity), gives her the perfect idea on how to escape from the walls that have been her home for the past seven years. 

Although Room is a story about abduction and kidnapping at face value, once watching you begin to understand the underlying metaphors that peek out among the tension filled scenes. At one point in the film, I had to leave to regulate my breathing as just watching the film had taken so much out of me, and a friend who was watching it with me was crying silent tears throughout. 

The acting within the film was sublime, and I really mean that. Brie Larson, who plays Ma, is one of those actors whose eyes can do all of the talking and I think that was needed in a film such as this, where what isn't said is as important as what is spoken aloud. Her son Jack, played by Jacob Tremblay, was equally amazing, and I think he was robbed of a Best Actor nomination as his part in the film is anything but a Supporting Actor, as the Oscars describe him. He is his Mothers equal, and both deserve awards for their performances in a film that was tactfully filmed and acted. 

The camera shots were sensitive, with zoom in all the right places and sweeping shots kept to a minimum whilst the duo were held in the room to highlight that although their home was tiny, it was large to a boy who'd never seen anything else. This, coupled with the opening of Jack saying 'Good Morning' to every item of furniture in the building made their confined space appear much larger than it was, which is exactly what I assume the director wanted us to see.  

One thing that I noticed (although probably shouldn't), was that Ma's real name was in fact Joy, and at first, I thought it was funny as that meant there had been two films based around an uncommon womans name in the space of two months. Yet on second thoughts, I really began to think of the metaphor behind it - as even in the bleakest of situations, with two young humans stuck in captivity, there was never an absence of Joy - Joy/Ma was always there for her son, and there was always happiness, there was always joy in the made up fantasy world of Room, there was always smiles and laughter, even if it was fake or put on. 

One thing I think that Room did really well was detailing the aftermath of the abduction, how both her son and Ma/Joy herself dealt with being on the outside, having to see that the world had in fact moved on without them and things would never be the same again. Seeing Jack take his first steps onto unknown ground is something I don't think I can ever unsee, as his tentatively moved his body from a chair to the unforgiving, cold floor - it sent shivers down my spine and just thinking of it now sends tingles up my arms - it was acted so well. 

Out of 10, I would review this film 8/10

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