Review: Room


Director:Lenny Abrahamson

Cast:Brie Larson, Joan Allen, William H Macy, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers

Running Time:118 Minutes


Life goes by like a precious blink of an eye. It should never be taken for granted, but sadly many people live uninspired and lackadaisically stumble through their existence. It's important to experience new things as well as learn about ourselves and the world in the process. For some, that isn't a realistic certainty but more like an allegoric dream.  This is the reality for two such souls in Lenny Abrahamson's beautifully haunting film Room.

In the film Room, Brie Larson plays a young woman named Joy, who has been abducted by a psychotic loner named Nick (Sean Bridgers) who sexually assaults and keeps her hidden away in his shed. Larson's performance in this film is, in a word, breathtaking. She emulates what it means to be a victim, bent but not broken and through all of it never giving up hope. Through all the pain and negativity surrounding her situation, the light of her life is her son Jack, played wonderfully by Jacob Tremblay. Tremblay gives one of the best performances I've ever witnessed, so move over Haley Joel Osment.

Most of the film is narrated through Jack's eyes and experiences. His narration sets a melancholic vibe for the entire film. We see Jack stumble around this tiny barren room, kind of like a wild-thing in Where the Wild Things Are, but this isn't make believe, and Jack can't wake up and transport back to safety. Instead, he is stuck in the only place that he knows exists, "Room".  To many, this room is claustrophobic, hellish, and cruel, but to Jack, it's spacious and full of wonder. He interacts with everything from living things, Ma and a mouse, to nonliving, a chair and some eggshells. These kinds of scenes made me feel alive, like I was being awakened from a five year slumber.

The second half of the film deals with the aftermath of freedom where Joy and Jack are reunited with family, Grandma (Joan Allen) and a cameo from Grandpa (William H Macy); both do well in showing the peaks and valleys of the rehabilitation process with loved ones.

The thing that holds the film together is the screenplay written by Emma Donoghue.  It is magnificent. Donoghue doesn't sugarcoat anything and leaves the clichés at the door with wonderful realistic dialogue that makes the audience feel instead of going through the motions of a stale generic story arc.

Lenny Abrahamson, known for directing Frank, last year's Sundance hit, creates a vibrant world for the audience to dissect in Room. He does a great job utilizing the close-up POV, utilizing the innocent eyes of a child to portray the chaos that surrounds him every day with open arms and naive. He couldn't have orchestrated the style of the film any better. 

Room fires on all cylinders and looks to gain momentum going into Oscar season. This film made me feel. Not like some films that make you tear up for a scene or two, no, this film made me feel all the emotions of the rainbow, if rainbows had emotions.


About Matt Kerwin

Matt Kerwin

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