Review: ROOM

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ROOM, starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, is the heartbreaking story about a mother and son under extreme circumstances. When she was seventeen years old, Joy (Larson) was kidnapped from her neighborhood, kept in captivity, and sexually abused. While in captivity, she has a son, Jack (Tremblay), by her captor. The movie details the journey of the mother and son from their imprisonment to their freedom.

The film can be split into two halves with a riveting transition in between. The first half of the film takes place entirely within a small garden shed where Joy (called Ma by her son) and Jack are held prisoner. The viewers get a look into their everyday routine and how they navigate their mundane and routine life in shed that they’ve named Room. Ma has put on a brave face for a son and has made life in Room as comfortable as possible. The horrors of their captivity come at night when her captor, dubbed “Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers), comes into Room to take advantage of Joy. At her breaking point, Ma finally reveals the truth of their circumstances to Jack in order for them to plan an escape. Once they escape, the film takes a look into Joy’s reintegration and Jack’s introduction to the world.

Novelist Emma Donoghue adapted the screenplay from her own book and does an amazing job condensing the novel into a two hour movie, while still keeping the integrity and nuances of her characters. Director Lenny Abrahamson does a fantastic job seamlessly translating page to screen. What could have been a clunky disjointed story is instead a heartbreaking story about the pressures of being a parent.

Larson gives an unforgettable performance. Her role a mother feels so natural for the 26 year old. She is able to balance a nuanced maternal instinct with the fight needed to stay alive and escape her kidnapper. I would be surprised if I didn’t see her next February with an Oscar nomination for her work on this movie. At only eight years old, Tremblay also delivers a knockout performance that requires him to anchor and narrate the story. He not only has to play a joyous young kid but also frustrated, scared, naïve, and does so while still remaining likable.

ROOM is an remarkable film experience. The movie is a journey that captivates from the very first scene and does not disappoint. With amazing performances from Larson and Tremblay that make the film a must see, I predict big things for this movie come Oscar season.

-Timmy Ngo

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