Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Room | Film Review

Room is the captivating story of five year old Jack, (Jacob Tremblay) and his "ma", (Brie Larson) as they navigate life in a 10ft square world, simply nicknamed "room". Jack tells us that Room is an entire world that goes "every direction, all the way to the end!". We later learn that Room is a garden shed, where " Old Nick" (Sean Bridger) has been holding Ma hostage since kidnapping her seven years ago.

Room is unique from similar plots such as The Lovely Bones, as it focuses not on the crime of the kidnap, but on Ma and Jack's relationship and the way they've learnt to live within four walls. If you've seen the trailer, it's no *spoiler* that they escape, but the plot is not central and certainly isn't intended to be an action packed thriller. The simplicity of the emotional contrast between living in Room and living in the outside world is utterly mesmerizing without the need for special effects, chase scenes or plot twists. Despite most of the film being conversation between Ma and Jack, there's never a boring moment, Room is gripping throughout.

In a heartwarming twist, the story is mostly told from the innocent perspective of Jack, who is unaware for the first four years of his life that there is a world outside of Room. In his world, "there's Room, then outer space, then all the TV planets, then heaven". Ma shields him from Old Nick's morbid visits, where she is repeatedly raped in return for "Sunday treat". It's implied that these treats include cake candles and a birthday present for Jack, showing the extent of the heartbreaking suffering she must endure alone. 

Particularly moving is Jack's initial reluctance to leave Room and his requests to return after experiencing the scary outside world. Also touching is the clever attention to detail in scenes such as Jack first climbing stairs. Tremblay's performance is tender, compelling and wholly believable. He completely steals the show and at only nine years old, he's a truly deserving winner of the Critics Choice 'Best Young Performer' award.

Brie Larson's BAFTA winning performance is equally perfect. Her emotional portrayal of the lasting impact of domestic violence is delicately handled, showing the trauma of coping alone and Ma's difficulty rebuilding a relationship with her parents.

Room is thoroughly enjoyable, a memorable film and a refreshing take on a real issue which is so often overly sensationalised in the media.