REVIEW: ‘Room’

Director:

  • Lenny Abrahamson

Cast:

  • Brie Larson
  • Jacob Tremblay
  • Sean Bridges
  • Joan Allen
  • Rated: R

Brie Larson plays Joy in “Room,” a young woman who is held captive in a single small space and is left to care for her son Jack (Tremblay). Her captor, only referred to as Old Nick (Bridges), sexually abuses Joy on a constant basis and only leaves her with minor needs for both her and her son to survive.

Since it’s shown directly in the trailer I will say in this review that both Jack and Joy do manage to escape. However, this still leads to new challenges as they both have to learn how to cope.

“Room” is a phenomenally brilliant film told in two different halves. The first half of the film paints a dark, frightening portrait that is sure to leave any audience on the edge of their seats. There is so much emotional weight to every scene in the first hour of the movie, from the horror that the main protagonist experiences to the resolve she has to still raise her son right in the midst of a hellish scenario.

The second half has a much different feel, but still works as a complimentary piece to the first. If the first half could be looked at, for example, as a sickness, the second half can be looked at as a cure. The final hour of “Room” is dedicated to the healing process, and it vividly portrays that ‘getting better’ doesn’t happen over night. While this second half of the movie does feel a bit less focused than its counterpart, it still provides for solid drama and plenty of touching moments.

Brie Larson is absolutely perfect in “Room,” carrying much of the movie on her back for the more serious scenes. In every scene she brings the gravity of the situation to the audience. Her fatigue, her stress, her love for her son and her pure exhaustion from being in the situation for so many years is all honestly shown and never feels forced or overdramatic.

While Larson did great work in “Room,” though, a review of the film wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the younger actor who steals quite a few scenes in the picture. Jacob Tremblay is ridiculously good in this film considering his age. As the movie goes on, his character Jack learns more and more about the world around him and it’s fascinating to watch this develop, mainly thanks to Tremblay’s honest and believable delivery. Don’t be surprised this award season to see the kid nominated for a few awards.

From a filmmaking standpoint, Director Lenny Abrahamson and his crew did a remarkable job capturing everything that happened in the tiny room that the two lead characters lived in. Despite being such a small area, the film is able to show different spaces in a way that allows the audience to see just how much work Joy has put in to make it feel like a home for Jack. It’s a rather interesting balance between feeling claustrophobic and trapped with having no way out, while at the same time having each space inside the area feel like a room of its own.

“Room” is a marvelous piece of art and certainly deserves some awards this season. Maybe the second half was a little bit unfocused and could have been trimmed, but this is such a minor complaint. It’s one of 2015’s best, 5 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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