Last Wednesday I was trying to decide what movie I wanted to see. I was torn between “Steve Jobs”, “Bridge of Spies”, “Truth” and “Room”. When I saw that a theatre close to my apartment was not only showing “Room” but that it had a Q&A afterwards I knew what movie I wanted to see.
Being able to attend movies that have Q&A’s afterwards is one of the greatest benefits of living in Los Angeles. Last year I saw one such showing of “The Skeleton Twins” (check out my review of that movie: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/the-skeleton-twins/) and earlier this year I saw one of Robin Williams last film “Boulevard” (check out my review of that film: https://jeremyochsgonzales.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/boulevard/).
When I first saw a preview for “Room” over the summer I wasn’t all that impressed by it. It thought the movie looked a little too simple and possibly a little too movie of the week. But then I started reading about it and hearing about it and my curiosity was peaked. Then last Tuesday I heard an interview of the radio with the female star of the movie, Brie Larson, and I went from being mildly interested to extremely interested.
The set up is fairly simple (but quite sad). A woman (Larson) was abducted when she was 17 years old and kept in a shed. After being raped repeatedly by her abductor (Sean Bridgers) she became pregnant. The movie is set as the product of that pregnancy, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), turns five years old.
Jack’s entire life has been inside of the shed and his Ma has managed to convince him that nothing else really exists outside of the room. We see their world, how difficult it is and how Ma somehow manages to make it magical for Jack. Then eventually we see what happens when after seven years of being stuck in that shed M, whose given name is Joy, manages to come up with a plan that will possibly free them. I normally wouldn’t reveal such as important plot point as Jack and Ma’s escape but since the previews reveal it I figure why not.
One of the things I loved about the movie is that is manages to show how Jack and Ma have very different experiences of the same events. For Jack his entire life has been room and as for as he’s concerned he hasn’t missed out on anything. While Ma/Joy had a life before room. When they are still be held it seems her primary focus is on surviving (how can it not be) with only fleeting thoughts going to the left she left behind when she was abducted.
I think it is only after they get out that it really hits her how much she’s missed out on and how much she’s lost. There is no doubt that Ma/Joy is suffering from some serious PTSD after they are back in the outside world.
I also loved how the film showed how resilient children are. As strong as we adults like to think we are we just don’t bounce back from things the way the children do. Another universal thing that the film hits on is how we can long for what we know as children even if the adult reality of it is very different and much darker.
The film lives and breaths on the performances and the chemistry between Brie Larson and Jacob Trembaly. Both of them are absolutely phenomenal. I enjoyed Larson’s work on the TV show “The United States of Tara” but she shows us a whole new level here. It’s hard to gage what will happen to child actors but I do know that Trembaly gives a great performance. I also really appreciated what three time Academy Award nominee Joan Allen did with her work at Ma/Joy’s mom.
The Q&A I got to enjoy afterwards was wonderful. After seeing how light and airy Brie Larson is in person I was even more impressed with the amazing depth she brings to her role. Director Lenny Abrahamson also gave some great insight into some of the technical aspects that went into making this film.
I can’t recommend “Room” highly enough. I enjoyed it so much that I would be willing to see it a second time in the theater, it’s THAT good.