Room is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as a mother and her 5 year old son who are being held in a tiny room and have been since before the boy was born. The film is very small and personal and has a very upsetting premise, but an overall feeling of hope and love in dark times. It is sweet and heartwarming while simultaneously being tragic and soul crushing. I don’t want to spoil anything from this film so my review might be a bit vague, but that is because I knew very little about this film when I went to see it, and that made this film an amazing experience.
The story is shown from the point of view of the 5 year old Jack (Trembley). This provides an amazing view of the imprisonment they’re in, as Jack has never lived outside of the room, and so his view of the world is so warped and sad to witness. Watching him grow and hearing him describe, sometimes through beautiful narration, his tiny universe is heartbreaking but fascinating. Trembley’s performance is outstanding for a child actor; he is so believable and brings the feeling of childlike innocence and wonder to the film. Abrahamson does an amazing job of making the audience feel how Jack would be feeling, you feel his happiness even in the dark times and his fear and anger as well. You insinctively don’t trust characters as you feel like anyone could be a threat to Jack. Following the perspective of Jack makes this film feel beautiful.
Brie Larson is also amazing as Jacks “Ma.” You see her torment and her struggle to not only try to survive and escape her kidnapping, but also to try and raise and protect a child in their imprisonment. She is so frail and damaged but tries so hard to stay strong for her son. Her character’s arc is heartbreaking, and as we witness it from a child’s perspective it’s even sadder as Jack doesn’t understand exactly what his mums going through. The chemistry and emotional connection that exists throughout this film is lovely and creates real sympathy for both of them as they are both massively detailed and ranged characters.
Abrahamson creates a great contrasting tone. He creates the feeling of Claustrophobia and a constant sense of danger throughout the whole film. Even when everything seems fine there is always that feeling of tension. This is contrasted gorgeously with the sense of innocence and wonder that I mentioned earlier. The amazing use of camera work to create both the closed off feeling and the feeling of discovery. The score is amazing as well and fits the tone brilliantly. My only criticsim of the film would be that the second half, while still being interesting and tense and having very emotional moments, may go on a little too long and isn’t quite as constantly gripping as the first half. It is still really good though.
Room is a captivating and emotional look at imprisonment and its effects and consequences. It is sad and disturbing, but also heartwarming and beautiful. The film is brought to life by Larson and Tremblay’s performances and Abrahamson’s direction. A great story on a small scale. I cried multiple times in this film and I recommend it highly!
P.S. It was hard to talk about this film spoiler free so my review might be vague but trust me you should see this film! I saw this right before seeing Grimsby and I think seeing this first made that film even worse haha.