Imagine if your entire world was a single room. Adorning this room is a heater, a small table, a bed, a closet and a toilet sans a seat. Also in the room is a carpet, a sink, a tub and a small toaster oven. The only thing connecting you to the outside world is a skylight, an old TV and a crestfallen mother with memories of the world behind your four walls. Everything you know is in that room. How would you develop? How would you understand; and what would happen if you left your world in search of a better one?
This is the story brought to luminous life in the film Room adapted from Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name. Told largely from the perspective of five-year-old Jack (Tremblay), the young boy comes to grip with the realities of the outside world after narrowly escaping imprisonment and saving his mother (Larson) from seven years of isolation and sexual torture. Their tormentor is a man described simply as Old Nick (Bridgers) a man always sporting heavy working boots, thinly framed glasses and a look of indignation. Every night, Old Nick trundles into the keycoded room and defiles his prisoner while Jack tries to sleep in the closet. After turning five however, his mother tells him of the outside world and plans an escape.
The movie only gets more captivating as it goes on and I dare not spoil anymore sufficed to say that the acting on the part of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay is nothing short of revelatory. Fully immersed in challenging roles, the two create a relationship so visceral and rewarding that it can bring any unsuspecting adult to tears. Every moment of joy and sadness is thoughtfully executed; which if put in lesser hands would come off as manipulative.
Room is slow, I admit, but consistent. Director, Lenny Abrahamson knows what he’s doing at all times. Besides getting fantastic performances from his leads, I’m thrilled with every choice he makes. From what he includes to what he omits, he understands what’s necessary for us to get as organic of an experience possible. This movie could very well be depressing, but it intentionally never stays in one place long enough to do so.
The film is ultimately about moving on. And that process can be long and drawn out and never- ending. There are times while watching this film when we ask ourselves how it will end. Not because we want it to, but because we’re not even sure how any ending would be enough. But then we find out we’re not looking for an ending at all, but a beginning.
Room gets an 8.5/10.