Room: an Emotionally Driven Thriller

Room (2015)

Director – Lenny Abrahamson

Writer – Emma Donoghue

Starring – Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen

Rating – R

Genre – Drama / Thriller

Metascore – 86/100

Rotten Tomatoes – 97%

Room is one of the most emotionally heavy movies I’ve seen in recent years, gripping my absolute attention for all 118 minutes. Room is well edited, knows when to move quickly and when to slow down. My friends and I sat until the credits rolled at the end of this film because the gravity of the experience virtually glued us to our seats as we attempted to process the story. There are multiple moments in this movie where every muscle in my body was tense. Room is very much a thriller, but it is driven by the raw intensity of emotions rather than other thrillers that utilize fear solely.

This film is not for the faint hearted. Joy Newsome, played magnificently by Brie Larson, is abducted at 17 and locked in a shed (which she later names ‘Room’) for seven years where she is subjected to the cruelty of her captor regularly (no nudity or graphic scenes, but rape is implied every single night).  Two years into her capture she is found to be with child by her abuser.  The child, Jack (played by Jacob Tremblay), whom we experience most of the story through, is an innocent byproduct of a horrible situation and has no concept of a world outside the room that he and his mother live in.

Tremblay is an astounding child actor, who will have you weeping at some moments, crying tears of joy at another, and laughing the rest of the time. Many young actors are limited to expressing simple emotions, but Tremblay shows more scope as an actor than some classically trained adults. Brie Larson gives an honest performance as a mother and is believable as someone who has had 7 years of her life stolen. I would put money on Larson getting a Best Actress nomination.  It is worth noting as well that Joan Allen, Jack’s grandmother, played her role with equal skill.

This movie was very difficult to review chiefly due to its enthralling story, which had me in its vice from the beginning. You truly care for these characters, as they feel lived-in and cared for in their creation (largely due to a script penned by the same author of the source-novel Room).  I was hard-pressed to find anything worthy of critique in the film because the screenplay drew in so much of my attention. The only real thing I would cite as a flaw is the cinematography within the “Room” itself. The space feels larger than it actually is. However, considering that we are viewing the space from the eyes of a 5-year-old boy who has known nothing else in his life, it would seem like the whole world to him.

The relationship between Joy and Jack, supported by the chemistry of their portrayals, is so well written and delivered that Room feels remarkably real and will have you experiencing and feeling the same range of emotions that the characters themselves experience in the tale.

TLDR – Room, sporting excellent chemistry in it’s actors and script, presents a gripping maternal tale of struggle wrought with real emotions that draws the viewer in to feel, experience, and genuinely care for all that it has to offer.

the499 rating – 8.9 / 10

Author : Jesse Ingram

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