How often do we get to hear statements like “the movie was better than the book”? I can’t imagine that’s often, but that is exactly what I am saying for Canadian-Irish drama Room, starring Brie Larson and standout newcomer Jacob Tremblay. The story tells the tragic, yet fantastical, views of a horrid situation that a five year old boy named Jack (Tremblay) and his Ma (Larson) face as captives in a single room by their captive. No, this is not a horror film, but it mine as well be because this film makes you realize that there are definitely demons here on earth, but there are also angels.
Larson has been known for her roles in comedic shows like The League, 21 Jump Street, and Scott Pilgram vs. the World, but she brings a performance that shoots her high onto everyone’s favorites list as their winner for Best-Actress. She is genuine is ways that make you forget that this isn’t real and that the situations are inspired by the ungodly events known as the Fritzl case. Ma has been imprisoned for nearly seven years after being taken from her home only to be locked in a room as a slave and captive and eventually mother to Jack. Jack is who the film is told through to allow a childlike innocence to a story that could have very well been categorized as “unwatchable” for its content otherwise. Often similar to the tone of Beasts of the Southern Wild, there is weight to how a child sees his or her world and how the parent(s) choose to have them see it.
This is a powerhouse of a film that will have you ripped to shreds only to be an abstract rendition of yourself when you’re done. What this film does excellently is highlight the love a mother has for her son, no matter the circumstances, only to have them both realize that there is always a chance to fight for one another. It’s painfully depicted, but it is more than worth the watch. Only Rated-R for language, the film handles its subject matters with tastefully done depictions of the horrors that occur in Room as Jack calls it. I finally understand why Lenny Abrahamson got the nomination for Best Director and once you see the film you will understand why as well. To have a five year old boy act out such a film is beyond impressive, but plenty of credit goes to Tremblay for being more talented beyond his years. Not only that, but to shoot a film in such a confined location for nearly a third of the film to make it feel as if it was another world is baffling and flat out impressive.
What you will love about this film is not its complex narrative, but its strong performances with a narrative that doesn’t have to say anything complex. It’s a story that combines reality with fantasy only to have it make you want to hug your parents. As much as I think Larson is the lead actress in this film, it is truly five year old Tremblay who becomes the spark plug for this film. Looking back, you may wonder why he didn’t even get a nomination, but maybe the Academy doesn’t want a five year old giving Oscar speeches yet? Either way, ready your heartstrings and get out the tissues because Room is a magnificent piece of cinema that is filled with captivating dialogue as well as performances by Larson and Tremblay that may define both of their careers leading on. It’s brutal yet touching, but slowly grows to be touching as the time runs on. If I got a chance to review this sooner it would have its place in my list of best films of 2015 and should fair well at the Oscars for Larson’s performance and original author and screenwriter Emma Donoghue.