Definitely not to be confused with The Room.
Room follows the lives of a mother and her five year old son who have been living in captivity for seven years. Held against their will in a single room by a man who gives them just enough to live by, they plot an escape. But what would escaping into the real world possibly give them?
Brie Larson won the 2016 Academy award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Joy, or Ma as she is more commonly called in the film, and with very good reason! She and Jacob Trembley, as her five year old son, are powerhouses of acting and utterly nail their performances.
The film opens with our two actors within their tiny living space, perhaps two metres by two metres, Jack is young and seems to be content with their lot while his Ma is both a mother and stoic in face of what must be incredibly hard truths that she shields him from. When we learn, through the eyes of an oblivious Jack, that his Ma has been in “Room” for seven years after his fifth birthday… cruel realities seep in.
Room isn’t so much an indie film by nature as it is a refined experience. It tells us enough and shows all we need to know. Brie Larson’s performance is so strong and shows the hollow shell of a woman at her absolute limit; everything we need to know, the history and events that led to this point, is written all over her expression. Jack’s innocence and contentedness is not only emboldening but also strengthens her performance through perfect juxtaposition.
Indeed, I have never seen a child performance quite like this one. While an Academy Award might have been a bit too much for such a young actor, the integrity of Jacob’s performance lies in the simplicity and pointed use of his dialogue. Too often are child actors given too much script to work with and undermines the character. Jack however is written and played out beautifully.
The final thought about the film is how simple its narrative is. There’s no extravagance, there’s no twists and turns, there isn’t even showboating or deliberateness. I was waiting for the cliché or the most deliberate dramas to befall the characters. But no, the film relies on nothing more than real human frailty and emotion when going through traumatic change. It really isn’t slow either, or boring. It is tense. You are always waiting for the worst to befall these two…
I went to see Room with virtually all the hype one could imagine; not only did a Best Actor award go towards it, but everyone I knew said it was great. Despite that, I too found it immensely moving and fantastically well performed. Yes, I might have shed a tear.