Plant. TV. Wardrobe. Sink. Chairs. Room. Ma. This all of the world that five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has known since he was born.
Abducted at the age of 17, ‘Ma’ (Brie Larson) has been trapped within the confinements of a garden shed for seven years. During this almost-decade, Ma is forced to give birth to her young son in this single room, raising him and pleasing their abductor to ensure the supplies to keep Jack safe.
With only the items supplied by her abductor available, Ma is desperate for Jack to live a normal life as possible inside their room. All the while, her son lives under the premise that this all there is to the world. Morning exercises, bedtime baths and reading practice, the pair have survived the five years together without provoking any trouble from their abductor. But, with Jack now old enough to understand the difference between reality and fiction, the time for stories is over. Ma decides it’s time for Jack to know the truth.
Now desperate to escape their life inside of the room, Ma conjures an escape plan to rescue both herself and her son. But can Jack survive outside of the world he’s come to call ‘room’? His mother might earn for her freedom again yet Jack’s only idea of freedom is receiving a birthday gift from the man who fathered him.
Is Jack ready for a world beyond the four walls he was born in?
Can Ma pick her life up back up from where she left it?
Neither will have to deal with the toils of the world if they can’t escape their own world hidden within the room…
Where can I begin with this masterpiece? The congratulations for this award winning screenplay not only stretches to the actors but it extends all the way to the cinematographers behind the cameras.
Highly sceptical of most book adaptations since it became a growing fad, I avoided both the original novel and the film itself out of fear one would tarnish my view of the other. But, as you can tell, I gave in. For once, I chose the film before the novel.
The premise of this storyline was originally one I was cynical on its capability to be transferred onto the big screen. How could the story of two people trapped inside of a room stretch out to fill the slot of a major motion picture without dragging out the story itself? Happily, I will now admit I was hasty in judging this film before initial viewing!
So many aspects of this film have been praised by numerous awards and nominations and all were deserved!
Let’s start with the lead actors, Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.
Barely even a teenager, Tremblay has taken Hollywood by storm following his portrayal of five-year-old Jack. Tremblay captures the curiosity of a growing boy and the fears of an isolated child perfectly. Every scene captures the deepest emotions felt by Jack, from the small joy of a new toy to the inability to comprehend the thought of a world larger than his own. Tremblay has the audience believing he is truly this young boy struggling with reality and the lies he was fed inside of room.
Tremblay isn’t the only one to be applauded through Jack’s portrayal as the almighty powers behind the cameras follow this character throughout the entire film. Whilst we are left questioning what is happening to Ma when Jack sleeps, we are with him every step of the way; we see life through his eyes and are introduced to the world surrounding us in a whole new way when Jack is introduced to it.
As for Brie Larson’s performance, it was truly as believable and heart-wrenching as her younger co-star’s. Even Larson’s physical appearance throughout the film is to be commended in creating the character of Ma. Whilst Jack is shown being taken care of hygienically throughout the film, Ma is always last to be cared for when it comes to her and her son. As Jack brushes his teeth daily, Ma is losing his teeth. Her wellbeing is put behind his at every turn.
Larson’s portrayal of this character of Ma is so gripping and memorable that we find ourselves wanting her freedom just as much as her. She embodies the mental and physical struggles of this character with a finesse that many actors lack.
Even the background characters within this film were cast perfectly. This tough storyline was handled so delicately and every actor knew their character’s role in this world and how to incorporate their struggles in a truly remarkable manner.
The cinematographers cannot be the only ‘behind the scenes’ cast that should be congratulated. Those behind the set design of the room are to be praised for the realistically claustrophobic space whilst the costume and make-up specialists perfectly depict years of struggle through the appearance of Ma.
My awe at Room is truly never-ending. I could spend pages upon pages praising this film, its cast and the story but readers should be encouraged to go forth and be awed themselves.
The smallest elements are given so much attention and detail that every scene is flawless and provokes an all manner of emotions. There is a slight chance my opinion could be altered if I were to read the original novel behind this film but, despite the chances, this is seeming rather unlikely. Regardless of its origin, this film stands out among the others of the year with a plot so simple yet thought-provokingly intricate.
I was forced to question even the slightest aspects of my everyday life through the lives of these characters. A new found appreciation was found for the slightest of material items from the space to move about to my ability to step outside for fresh air. This new appreciation only reinforced the emotional connection I had established with the characters.
If there are any films you are sceptical about viewing, I strongly encourage you to go and give it a chance. For I was truly sceptical about the success of this film and I was proven more wrong that I am happy to admit.
A standing ovation for this masterpiece.
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers