“Room” is the most emotional movie going experience I have had all year. It is a heartwarming and heartbreaking tale of hope, perseverance, and awakenings. It is filled with tension, raw emotion, sadness, and joy and features two dazzling performances from two young, talented actors.
“Room”, adapted from the novel by Emma Donaghue, is told through the eyes of five year old Jack (newcomer Ethan Tremblay). He and his mother, Ma, (Brie Larson) are enclosed in a small room that Jack has known is entire life. One day, the two escape from this room into a world that Jack has never seen before. Now Jack must adjust to this new life while his mother must readjust to a life that she once knew.
Brie Larson has been doing great, yet under appreciated work in movies this entire decade. From films like “Scott Pilgrim vs The World” (2010) to “21 Jump Street” (2012) to the criminally overlooked gem “Short Term 12” (2013), Larson has stacked up a very impressive resume. “Room” is her coming out party. She is simply spectacular as Ma. While in the room, she has to keep her sanity while also attempting to raise Jack with limited tools. When out of the room, she has to help Jack learn the difference between the real world and the only worlds that he knows, the room and television. She has to assimilate him into culture so that he can be as normal as possible, even though the first five years of his life have been anything but normal. She also has to readjust to life herself, causing some emotionally stirring and sad moments. This is a performance that should garner plenty awards attention, as it is the best performance, male or female, I have seen all year. Tremblay is a revelation as Jack. For a child actor to carry a film of this magnitude is something special. The movie revolves around Jack and because of Tremblay, we feel everything he feels. We are scared when he enters into the real world and he breaks our heart when he keeps asking about his old world. Tremblay and Larson convey the mother-son bond seamlessly and brilliantly.
Lenny Abrahamson does impressive work behind the camera. He has made a film that could have ended up extremely melodramatic and sappy, but instead keeps it tight and compelling. He taps into the human spirit and strikes every emotion in our body. The cinematography by Danny Cohen shows us the beauty of everyday life that we overlook, but Jack sees for the first time. The way we see the room at the beginning and end of the movie is subtle yet shocking. It is great filmmaking all over.
“Room” is an emotional powerhouse. It is a movie about hope, the mother-son bond, and rebirth. With two of the best performances of the year, great direction, and a cluster of emotions, expect “Room” to be towards the top of the best films of 2015.
MY RATING – 4/4
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Image courtesy of YouTube via A24.