Boxing out – Kidnapping is one of those acts people try their best to ignore, but the harsh reality is it happens more than we think. And typically when we do hear about it, it’s after the fact when the victim is found or returns home. While that could be good or bad news, it’s a truth some families have to face. In “Room,” we see from the inside out a different point of view of this terrible crime, fulfilling the notion that there tends to be two sides to every story, no matter the severity or circumstances.
What’s it about? It all begins in a tiny room where Joy “Ma” (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) are being held captive. With no way out and only a skylight to look outside, the two try their best to be normal. But, the fact is nothing about living in a small space crammed with a bed, toilet, bathtub and kitchen is normal; especially when you throw in the fact that her abductor Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) repeatedly rapes her just feet away from her son hiding in a wardrobe. This was their life and each day the two would do certain things to try to keep their spirits up, but when Old Nick showed up one night and told Joy he lost her job things changed. Worried what would happen to her and Jack, Joy came up with a plan for Jack to escape and seek help the first chance he got. While shaky at first, the plan worked and eventually Joy was rescued and Nick was arrested. But, living back in the real world was not easy for Joy as she began to lash out while Jack simply tried to adjust to a world he never imagined leading to a conclusion full of strength and love that only these two could understood.
Who was in it? For those unaware, the star of “Room” has actually been around for a bit. And I don’t mean William H. Macy, even though he made a brief, yet memorable appearance. No, the star that virtually took this movie from a ‘B’ to an ‘A’ was none other than Brie Larson. For years I have watched her support others, but through all those performances I always felt she was close and working toward a role like this. Its one thing to completely throw yourself into a role, but Larson took it to a whole other level. Through extensive mental training and dieting, Larson worked hard to get into her character so that you believed she had been in this room for seven years. Well it worked, as I never expected to be wowed like I was after watching her work within this film as Ma. That said, she wasn’t alone as the young Jacob Tremblay was right next to her every step of the way. What a performance for a 9-year-old who played like he was 5 and did so under some extreme circumstances. So kudos to him and wherever he goes in what I feel will be a long career.
A lot with a little – It’s a fact that dramas don’t always get a lot of love. Sure, during award season they do, but that’s about it which is actually said. Truth is, dramas tell more about the world we live in, but I guess that’s the point, isn’t it. People don’t always want to face reality, but here have no choice given all that this story and film was. And what’s crazy is how the director dropped you right into this tiny room without any warning or build up. That director you ask was Lenny Abrahamson, who I bet you have never heard of. Don’t worry, I didn’t either, but surely know his name now after what I experienced watching his film. I was immersed into this ‘room’ and couldn’t help but get caught up in all the drama and emotion going. That’s both a credit to Abrahamson and the script written by Emma Donoghue, who also happened to be author behind the novel this film was based off of. That’s about as close to the source as you can get, which quite honestly I think led into how real it all felt. I mean, Abrahamson actually filmed an entire scene where Larson and Tremblay’s breath was evident each time they spoke, fully supporting that moment in the story when the power was cut off. That’s brilliant and just one example of the incredible job he did with this film backing the Oscar nomination he received.
Bottom Line – “Room” is one of those films everyone should see, not just for the acting, but for the story that teaches you so much about love and how it prevails no matter the circumstance. If that’s not the recipe for an Oscar contender, I don’t know what is as there just aren’t a whole lot of films that feel and play out like this one does.