Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Room’ Review: Starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay & Joan Allen

There are not many performances that are better this year than Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. It will be a travesty if neither gets nominated for an Oscar nomination, with Tremblay getting a nom for Best Actor. These two actors gave wonderful performances as mother and son, and with a beautiful relatability considering that the subject matter is so dark and terrifying. Even having not read the book by Emma Donoghue, Room is easily one of the best book adaptations we have seen since Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of Gone Girl last year.

Five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) only knows the “room,” a tiny four-sided area with a bed, TV, bathtub, sink and toilet that he shares with his Ma (Brie Larson). Jacob believes the whole “real” world is only room, while his Ma knows it’s an entrapment from the actual world around them. Jacob only knows little about Ma’s life before room, but he also knows to stay away when Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) comes to room every Sunday night with groceries, vitamins and the occasional clothes. Ma was kidnapped 7 years ago when she was just 17-years-old and has been in room that entire time. She knows she needs to make the best life she can for her son, even in this deplorable conditions. But when Ma creates a plan for her and Jack to escape room, it’s up to Jack to succeed as he sees the world around him for the very first time.

Director Lenny Abrahamson’s (2014’s Frank) Room is beautiful, horrifying, shocking and incredibly moving. It will make you want to phone your mother and thank her for everything she’s done for you as soon as you leave the theatre. Emma Donoghue adapted the screenplay to her own novel, fitting her 300-page book into a wonderful two-hour long film. What’s interesting about Room is that this kidnapping story is told from a 5-year-old’s perspective. We see how it affects Ma, how she is struggling to raise her young son by herself in a small room, completely cut off from the world, getting frustrated by her situation and with the temperament of her child. And how she has to willingly comply with her captor in order to keep herself and Jack safe from harm. Jack knows nothing of the kidnapping and what goes on while he is sleeping in the wardrobe on Sunday nights, he only knows that Old Nick is scary and to stay away from him.

room movie brie larson

Considering that half of the film takes place in a small room, it appears bigger than what it is partly because cinematographer Danny Cohen’s (2012’s Les Miserables) camerawork captures the warm atmosphere that Ma and Jack created over the cold tiny place in which they actually live. While Abrahamson focuses on the imaginative world that Ma has created that goes beyond the walls, creating a unique world for Jack to learn and play.

Tremblay acts beyond his years and takes the audience on a journey of discovery, while Larson stuns as Ma in the best performance of her career to date. Room shows us that even in the darkest parts of our lives, something wonderful can come from it. It teaches us about growing up, moving on and how a mother’s love is unlike anything in the world.

Copyright © 2019 DC Film Girl