Reel Talk: Why Everybody Should See ‘Room’
I am warning you right now, Room is not an easy movie to watch. Even if you’ve read the best-selling novel by Emma Donoghue, which focuses on a mother struggling to raise her son in captivity, it is something else entirely to see it on screen. But that’s part of the draw of Room: it is—to sum it up simply—something else entirely, and unlike anything else you’ve seen before.
One reason for this is because almost half of Room takes place in, well, one room—a 10x10 foot shed with only a skylight to see out of. And yes, it was actually shot in a 10x10 room, composed of removable 1x1 cubes to aid in shooting all the angles. While it may seem boring that everything is confined to such a small space, it is so dynamically shot by director Lenny Abrahamson that the running time just flies by. Abrahamson focuses on the small things—a lamp, a pill bottle, a corner, a leaf, a shadow—in order to make the world appear bigger around us, and it works perfectly.
(If you want to stay in the dark about Room, stop reading now, but I won’t reveal anything not already revealed in the promotional advertising.)
The second reason to see Room is because it contains to of the best performances of the year. Brie Larson, who plays the mother, is already a lock to win Best Actress at the Academy Awards, and for good reason. She imbues her character with a sense of authority and steadfast determination despite being in captivity, and is in every way pitch-perfect. Her Ma is full of compassion and sadness, dedication to her son and yet a life of her own, and upon release Larson expertly depicts how these contrasts play upon Ma’s psyche. It is a performance not to be missed.
Almost more impressive, though, is Jacob Tremblay, who was only eight years old at the time of filming and somehow manages to give probably one of the best child performances of all time. I’ll put it this way: it would have been impressive if anybody had pulled off this part, but to come from such a young child is incredible. Tremblay—who plays Ma’s son, Jack—at once conveys excitement and wonder, then confusion, fright, boredom, and worry. And he does this so perfectly, I honestly felt like I was watching somebody in real life rather than an actor.
And that is really the last reason to see Room. Yes, the premise may seem melodramatic, but like I said, Abrahamson avoids melodrama by focusing literally on the small things in life, and turns Room into the realest film of the year. It is full of lines too real to process that will make your heart drop—lines that, over the course of the film, hope to in some way change you with their poignancy. Additionally, the fact that Ma and Jack are essentially experiencing the world for the first time encourages you to see it differently, too, leading to a deeply affecting film that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
However, perhaps one of the best parts about Room is that not everything is solved once Ma and Jack escape. In about an hour, the film expands on it’s themes of boredom and depression, out-of-body experiences, and adapting to difficult situations, and still manages to get the most out of life, urging you to do the same.
For anyone who has ever suffered, who has ever felt out-of-place, or who has ever questioned their worth or position in the world (so most of us…), this is the film for you. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Overall rating: 10 out of 10.