Room, based on a novel of the same name, seems as though it could be ripped from the headlines and patched together from the imagination of a screenplay writer, but this story was written before the high-profile discoveries of Jaycee Dugard or Amanda Berry.
Room takes place, in the beginning, as the title indicates, a single room where “Ma” (Brie Larson) has told Jack that this room that they’ve been shut in is the world, nothing else existing beyond their four walls. The audience is shown their daily lives, Jack saying hello to all the inanimate objects on his fifth birthday with Ma telling him she’s going to make a birthday cake, exercises and bath time.
The sudden appearance of “Old Nick”, Ma’s captor and Jack’s father, is both jarring and expected. We only see what Jack sees, who’s hidden in a wardrobe to shield him from sexual violence that’s only implied. As the days go by, it’s clear that Ma is beginning to crack at the edges, and all she wants is out which results in a wonderfully acted scene between Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay where Ma reveals that everything she’s told Jack is a lie and the truth about why they’re stuck in Room.
Though Brie Larson gets sidelined in the last act, her performance as Joy is everything that the Academy seems to go for. A character who’s extremely sympathetic, and authentic, yet also shows a wide range of emotions. She’ll likely win, as she should.
However, the surprise here is Jacob Tremblay. He’s so young, but can show so many layers that, in another actor’s hands, could’ve easily went off the rails. Yet, with the help of the director, and his chemistry with Brie Larson, he manages to pull it off. It’s actually kind of a startling thing to witness of someone so young.
It’s a difficult film to sit through because of the content, and judging by the box office, audiences seem to be put off by it. Though I have to say, it’s a film that begins with almost unimaginable horror, yet it ends with a ray of realistic hope.