ROOM

 

Dir. Lenny Abrahamson. Ireland, Canada. 2015
.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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Emai

Lenny Abrahamsonís Room opens in a 10 x 10 room that has no windows, a locked door, and no light other than that provided by an overhead skylight. Jack (Jacob Tremblay), a slight five-year old boy with hair down to his shoulders wakes up each morning as he has all his life, saying hello to his world. He says hello, not to the sun or the grass outside his front door where he can run and laugh and play but only to the objects which is all his world consists of: the lamp, the sink, the plant, the refrigerator. His only friend is a mouse that he feeds with some pleasure.


Not that he lacks for companionship. Ma (Brie Larson) is with him and their endless days consist of cooking, reading, and watching TV where Jack is told that what he sees on the screen is not real, only pretend. All he knows of the world is what he sees in front of his eyes. Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) brings food and other household items but when he comes, Jack has to hide in his wardrobe, out of sight. Ma, we find out, has been kept prisoner and used for sex by the hulking man who comes every night and we know that Jack is a result of his motherís rape. Jack is the focus of the film and we see everything from his point of view, with the help of his sometime narration but we can also get into his motherís mind and feel her pain and live her dreams.


There is never any doubt of his motherís love though the obvious strain of keeping herself from crying out every minute is painfully obvious. To Jack, she is the center of his world and his reason for being. When the second half of the film takes a surprising turn and shifts 180 degrees, Jack and Ma are not prepared for what awaits them. Even when an alternative is suggested as possible, he doesnít want to hear anything about a different world with blue sky and rivers and trees. Room is a tense and compelling film in which Brie Larson more than fulfills the brilliance that she showed in Short Term 12 and should make her an Oscar contender. Tremblay is also superb.


He lives his character and makes him come alive, even though he is only nine years old. Supporting roles by Joan Allen and William H. Macy also contribute to the filmís second half but it is always Larson and Tremblay that carry the day. The film is not mawkish or sentimental even though the soaring score by Stephen Rennicks comes close. While there are some plot implausibilities, the film is a tribute to the resiliency and the dedicated love of a parent for their child. It is also a teaching experience. Like many who are walled off from each other and think the box they are in is all there is, the film can give us the combination to open the locked door, if we take the risk to turn the key.


GRADE: A-

Howard Schumann


 
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