Room (2015)

Lenny Abrahamson’s Room is poignant. Room is evocative. Room is devastatingly beautiful. There is a magic in creating a world in a child’s perspective. To capture and display the innocence, the purity, the sheer amount of confusing vastness of the world is no mean feat. Writer Emma Donoghue, who is also the writer of the book that the film is based upon, and director Lenny Abrahamson manage to do just that.

The film starts with the pair of mother and son, Joy and Jack, played by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay living their lives while scrapping for resources yet finding solace in each other’s company, in a room. That is right. In a single room (which later revealed to be a garden shed with a skylight as the only source of sun). The reason behind this ordeal revealed to be that Joy had been abducted by person referred only as ‘Old Nick’. Old Nick kept Joy and Jack, who is his biological son, sans any means of communication with the outside world and had them live a life devoid of any hope to go back to the world. 

Without revealing much about what happens next in the film, it can be said that what follows is one of the heart-wrenching and heart-warming story about love, innocence and those little joys of the world that we often overlook. There is a slight tonal shift in the second half as the tension of escape and sweetness of the love between mother and son gets replaced with Joy facing the reality of the world. But the change is in coherence with the story and that helped in underlining the difficulty both protagonists, especially Joy, is facing in their new world. Even without reading the book, I must say that the screenplay immensely helped in establishing the dichotomy of the emotions that the protagonists went through. Lenny Abrahamson’s direction complemented that aforementioned dichotomy. The first act was shot quite meticulously in the closed room, thus providing a sense of foreboding and an urge for escape. 

Although bolstered by a good support cast the film largely centers around the mother, played by Brie Larson and the son, played by Jacob Tremblay. Brie Larson, whose hitherto best performance perhaps had been in the largely underrated 2013 film Short Term 12, churned out a superlative and breathtaking performance as the mother. The role was a delight for an actor of her capability and she made the character her own. Restrained and gritty while being captive in the room and yet lovingly playing with her son; Vulnerable and fragile, being captive of her own thoughts and insecurities, while trying to get her son attuned to the big world; Brie Larson shines throughout her role. 

But, the film would not have been so pure, so emotional, so magical without the brilliant performance of Jacob Tremblay, as the 5 year old. It is one of the finest performances from a child I have ever seen. The fear of the task her mother asked, then the taste of freedom, then again the intimidation of the vast world that had hitherto been unknown to him. We feel everything through the wondrous performance of Jacob Tremblay and he genuinely smiled in the film when seeing a ‘real’ dog for the first time, it becomes difficult to hold tears back. 

At this point, it would not be fair if Stephen Rennick’s score is not mentioned. The music, with the appropriate usage, bolstered the scenes and helped the film in taking the audience for the ride.
Room is a film that would provide its audiences a perspective that we often ignore; and for this very reason it is a film that should not be missed. 

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