Perspective is everything when it comes to communication. One person’s experience is unique compared to another, but factor in variables like age, gender, ethnicity, and education, and things become that much more nuanced.
Today’s film review features a story that addresses exactly that idea. Shall we?
Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Joan Allen, Tom McCamus, William H. Macy
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
released on blu-ray March 1, 2016
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%, Audience Score 94%
The Guardian: *****/*****
Leonad “Lenny” Abrahamson is an Irish film and television director. He has 5 feature films under his belt and now one Academy Award nomination for Best Director. And I’ll be the first to admit I knew absolutely nothing about him before looking into this review of Room. Which I only decided to watch after sitting down for the 88th Annual Academy Awards.
But I’m sure glad I did, because this movie packs an incredible emotional punch and hits you right in the ethics too. But let’s take a quick peek at the plot (I’ll refrain from spoiling the end).
Taken from Wikipedia and edited,
In Akron, Ohio, 24-year-old Joy (Brie Larson) and her five-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) live in a shed they call Room. They share a bed, toilet, bathtub, television, and kitchen; the only window is a skylight. They are captives of Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), Jack’s biological father, who abducted Joy seven years prior, and routinely rapes her while Jack sleeps in the wardrobe. Joy deals with depression and malnutrition. She allows Jack to believe that only Room is “real,” that the world on television is dreams.
Old Nick tells Joy he’s lost his job and cannot afford supplies. When Joy reacts badly, he cuts their heat and power. Joy tells Jack about the outside world; which he rejects initially. She has Jack fake a fever, hoping that Old Nick will take him to a hospital where he can escape, but Old Nick decides to return the next day with antibiotics.
Joy wraps Jack in the carpet and has him play dead so Old Nick will remove him from Room. Falling for the ruse, Old Nick places Jack in the back of his pickup and drives through the neighborhood. Awed at first, Jack then jumps from the truck and attracts the attention of a passer-by. Police arrive and rescue Jack. Based on his recollections of Room and what Joy told him, the police find Joy and rescue her. Old Nick is arrested, and Joy and Jack are taken to a hospital.
Reunited with family, Joy learns her parents (Joan Allen, William H. Macy) have divorced and her mother has a new partner, Leo (Tom McCamus). They stay at her childhood home where her mother and Leo reside. Her father cannot accept Jack and leaves. Jack struggles to adjust to life in the larger world, speaking only to his mother and expressing a desire to return to Room. Joy struggles with anger and depression, lashing out at her mother and ignoring doctor’s appointments. She agrees to a television interview, but becomes angry when the interviewer questions her decision to keep Jack with her in the room after his birth, rather than asking Old Nick to leave Jack some place that he could be found.
It is an intimate and emotional story that continues an incredible arc.
Pros: Though an incredibly dark topic, the narrative never feels without hope or promise. Brie Larson does a fantastic turn as the mother and breakout young actor Jacob Tremblay is amazing as well.
Cons: The second half is quite difficult to digest and as a result it feels like it could have been given more of same treatment, looking through Jack’s eyes as the first half.
Runtime: 118 minutes
Points of Interest: Brie Larson spent a month in isolation without phone or internet and maintained a strict diet to prepare for the role, it caused her to become depressed in the last week. Old Nick is another name for the Devil in Christianity.
This is an incredibly powerful film depicting a very intimate and traumatic mother-and-child story. It is handled in such a way that you get to experience it from two perspectives simultaneously, with many of the objects, people and events often being fun or scary for Jack whereas they are painful and torturous for Joy.
I highly recommend you go see this film, because whether you’ve read the book or not, the story is unique and the characters are well acted.
And that’s all I’ve got for today, dear readers! Come back tomorrow for some wisdom, and please leave some comments as well as subscribing to the blog if you want to see more!