Writer: Emma Donoghue (screenplay and novel)
Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers
Running time: 118mins
What’s the story: Told through the eyes of 5-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) this is the story of his life and his mother (Brie Larson). Since birth a brutal captor has held them in a 10m by 10m room. Ma tries to create a typical childhood for her son, teaching him about life through television and limited supplies. Once she realises young Jack is physically ready to escape their prison a daring plan is hatched and the real world is in touch. However will Jack and his mother be able to adjust to freedom?
What’s the verdict:
Inspired by the harrowing case of Joseph Fritzl, Emma Donoghue has adapted her multiple award winning 2010 novel for cinema – and it’s one of 2015’s best films.
Lenny Abrahamson follows up 2014’s Frank with a nail biting and emotional story of Brie Larson’s Joy aka Ma, who at 17 is abducted, abused and held hostage in the titular room for seven years.
Two years into the ordeal Jack is born and Ma dedicates her life to ensuring his life is as ‘normal’ as possible in the confines of Room. For it is always “Room”, never the room, a room or that room. Like Paris, Budapest or Milan it’s Jack’s whole world, life and city.
We join Jack at age 5 and he is fully accustomed to Room. He has his morning rituals, politely saying good morning to the limited furniture in their cell. He exercises and Ma provides an education as best she can which includes the metaphorical Alice in Wonderland.
As the movie’s narrator, Jack poetic vision of the world brings light to the dark facts of his life, his long hair giving him Samson-like strength to protect his mother.
For Ma seven years take their toll and the desire to escape becomes overwhelming. A tense and heart pounding escape plot begins.
The tension mounts as the real world is in sight. But, if they escape how do Jack and Ma adapt? Can they adapt? All questions are brilliantly answered through sensational performances from Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.
Larson as always shines as the broken but stoic mother, shades of Short Term 12’s fragile Grace come through. Fingers crossed she is not overlooked again come awards season.
Though the clear champion of Room is Tremblay. Possibly the best child performance of recent times, the challenging subject matter required a convincing portrayal and he delivers. Though he didn’t see dead people he should be remembered like Haley Joel Osment when Oscar ballots are handed out.
Abrahamson presents the dark, dirty and disturbing world of Room through tight, claustrophobic close ups, never letting the audience stretch in the 10 x 10 enclosure.
He then gives us a bright but gripping and emotional ‘aftermath’ story reminiscent of the underrated In The Bedroom.
Room is an experience that grips you, but unlike Ma and Jack it’s one you don’t want to forget.