I went to see this film titled “Room” this past weekend. That’s it, that’s the title, not “The Room” or “A Room”, just “Room”, where it tells the story about a twenty something woman called affectionately by her son as “Ma” played by Brie Larson and the child itself a 5-year-old boy with long flowing girl like hair who his mother has named “Jack” played by Jacob Tremblay. And so now you ask what else?
Well from the onset we discover and shockingly so “Ma” has been held captive for over 7 years by her stranger abductor who she refers to as “Old Nick” and who is also the biological father of 5 year old “Jack”. We also see that both Jack and Ma are living a subsistence existence inside a sound proof toolshed in Old Nick’s backyard that is approximately twelve by twelve with only the bare necessities of a tub, electricity, floor heater, running water, tiny refrigerator, a toaster oven and a high sky-light window for them see the sky.
Now, with this background imagine you being born a child in that environment as Jack was, waking up each day not knowing that there was a large and unique world just outside of those walls with other people, dogs, restaurants, buildings, trees, streets, cars and or anything that was not inside that “room”. For Ma it was important each day to make sure her son would live as much a normal life without having to try and explain the complexities of an entire world where Jack only knew it existed within those cold walls, along with his endless fantasies as small kids are naturally incline to develop to amuse themselves as entertainment. His only real external emotional escape was manifested in the film through Jacks’ minimum daily stimulation from their tiny cable-less TV in their room where Jack could not differentiate that cartoons and people on TV were both not reality, but at the same time where the cartoons and people are not one in the same as both being not real verse humans being real. Get it? Yeah, heavy stuff isn’t it?
In the end Jack’s TV world was just a part of a greater fantasy world that his mother Ma had always use to foster and nurture normalcy so as to keep both Jack and her amused and more importantly sane day after day after day after day for 7 years.
Then one day, Ma” devises a scheme to escape, but she realizes it will only work if she can now convince young Jack that all the things she has told him for the past 5 years that were not true (inside the room) are now true (outside the room) and where in fact was an actual whole new world with a new reality just outside those immediate walls. She patiently and lovingly has to convince young Jack to believe her in very short order so as to trust her in finding someone outside the wall to eventually escape.
PROS: “Room” is singularly one of the most powerful, moving and stirring films I have ever seen. My words alone will not do justice to this film which produced for me some of the rawest emotional feelings of anger, grace and joyous uplift I or probably you will ever experience.
The story’s power to take a claustrophobic plot that deliberately gets inside some unexpected place in your mind, your visceral DNA and your primal instinctive soul is nothing short of directing - screenplay genius and brilliance. And while I am a sentimental man, I am not weepy in the slightest, but there was a scene midway involving a red truck riding through a residential neighborhood that had my heart pounding and put a lump in my throat. I felt myself being filled with genuine heart felt emotion during this scene and I believe you will too.
This is impressive film making at the highest, highest order with an extraordinary performance by Brie Larson as Ma who I sure hope like hell gets an Oscar nomination as Best Actress. Also, if the Academy has any courage at all they sure as hell should nominate young Jacob Tremblay as Best Supporting Actor. I for one would vote if I could for him to won now.
I have seen thousands of movies in my life time and I here to tell you I have never; I will say it again, NEVER – EVER seen such a young child master a dark adolescent subject and character as his Jack, with all of the complexities of understanding and recreating the emotions of a child and mother devotion to one another under such assaulting and provocative conditions. Meaning?
Meaning where on one hand his Jack was to be a normal child prone to displays of unexpected silliness and wondrous imagination. Then with equally adroitness and skill to show genuine moments of anger and frustration as any child would display when he doesn’t understand something that is suddenly confusing by countering what he had previously learned. And finally to show authentic mistrust, doubt, confusion and shyness in a new world that has turned his life completely upside down becoming bigger than big in a sudden blink of an eye.
Young Jack Tremblay’s emotional acting senses and acting timing here are so creative by understanding the aura and atmosphere of total isolation verses the sensations of reality verse the sensation of fantasy and then to make all of these various emotional strata’s work on the big screen so effectively, I can only say this is some of the best acting I have seen in 40 years whether it be man, woman or child.
If you see this and implore all of my friends and film fans to really make the effort to see it in the theater you will discover that Jacob Tremblay was initially given an extraordinary very high hurdle to play this character who has enormous complicated layers to his persona that in the end he delivers on his task with such brilliance it’s bordering on perfection.
CONCLUSIONS: The film runs about 2 hours with almost two distinct acts, with the first act delving into Jack and Ma exclusively being inside their insanity they call “Room” and the second act where they manage to escape to the outside world. It is also where again I really don’t want to say much more. However, I will say that it is important to know that while the subject is very dark, there is not one thing in the entire movie that is gratuitously violent or vulgar. Trust me there is so much more to this movie that I have not conveyed in my comments and review.
I also so hope that some of you will not be intimidated in not seeing it because as its core it is about sexual abduction. What I can assure you though is that the ending will bring you genuine satisfaction for taking a chance in seeing this film that dramatically starts in a dark place and appropriately and believably moves to a light place.
Check your local listings. I do know it is currently playing at the Landmark Theater E Street in Washington, DC and the Landmark Theater Bethesda Row in Bethesda, MD.
For me the movie “Room” is one of the very, very best films for 2015. Its a must see film in any form whether it is in a theater or home rental as it will probably be on my short list of ten best films for this current decade.
4 Stars Plus