Release Date: October 30, 2015
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writer: Emma Donoghue
Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson, Sandy McMaster, Matt Gordon, Amanda Brugel, Joe Pingue, Joan Allen, Zarrin Darnell-Martin, Cas Anvar, William H. Macy, Jee-Yun Lee, Randal Edwards, Justin Mader, Ola Sturik, Rodrigo Fernandez-Stoll, Rory O’Shea, Tom McCamus, Kate Drummond, Jack Fulton
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes
Production Company: Element Pictures, No Trace Camping, A24
Country: Ireland, Canada
I haven’t had the chance to travel the world, but one day I will embracing all its glory. It’s just so big, and knowing where to go first can be a daunting task. I wouldn’t know what to think if my world was confined to the size of a large closet. Trying to wrap my head around that is harder than comprehending all the stars in space. Even thinking about it is frightening, and I’m terrified from the many souls that had to go through this. As we all are products of our environment, the thought of someone being imprisoned like this, knowing nothing else, is reluctantly interesting. Being based on the 2010 novel book by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue, she crafted the story into a heartwarming adaptation of patience, love, fear, and overcoming the hardest of obstacles. This film shows innocence in its purest form, with your tears being the price of admission.
As the trailers suggests, a decent portion of the film takes place in a small room (only saw the trailer once, months before screening). Director Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) was the man pulling the strings, and I’m eager to see the set location he did the filming. He did a fine job at selling the compacted room that was a prison for two over several years. Abrahamson's style of filming treated the adaptation as an inversed onion, revealing a new world as each layer was shaved off. It reminded me of a newborn child experiencing birth for the first time, but at the age of five. He knew how to put you in the shoes of the characters as they discovered a new world not known before. The shots he chose to look out a window or a small sky light, really put everything into perspective.
Initially I didn’t know the story thinking Ma (Brie Larson) was a selfish mother wanting to dominate a soul due to her own insecurities, but I soon found out I was wrong. In this time Brie Larson’s portrayal was astounding being able to convey a loving mother to her child Jack (Jacob Tremblay), but to the audience a terrified prisoner in bondage. I can only imagine how hard it is to lie to a child, but given the cards she was dealt she had no other choice. With Jack being so young, it of course isn’t fair to him to know the truth. He wouldn’t understand and would ruin his development if it’s not already too late. I loved Jack to death for he melts your heart with his tenderness and joy. I nearly broke down myself seeing him raised in captivity for the first few years of his life, while he still loves life like he has it all. If it wasn’t for his spectacular performance, I’m sure the impact of the film wouldn’t have landed so hard.
The only complaint I have about the film is the ending. It has a terrific ending, but too many endings at the same time. Throughout the films three act structure you had the setup, conflict, then the resolution. I only need one resolution and not three. Because of this the runtime ran a little long. Easily another twenty minutes or so could’ve been deducted, because the film started to repeat itself. All it was doing was going on in circles trying to build up your emotions that were already at its peak. On at least three different occasions the film had a great score, and wrapped everything up for the perfect ending, only to say, “Hey wait! We still have more presents coming from around the corner,” but how many toaster ovens does one need. I say only one.
While this film isn’t in my list of favorite genres, it’s something I could see over, and over again. There’s so much to be appreciated here with its high number of powerful undertones. Unconditional love being one of them, and is one of the most powerful emotions one can possess. Room has plenty of it from top to bottom, and even more you’ll have to see for yourself. Much respect goes to the cast as they’re put in the most tragic of situations, and are tested on what’s most important in life. It’s sad to say this film has inspirations of true events that actually happened to people, but is also an assurance that it’s always darkest before the dawn.