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Film Review: 'Room '(2015)


 

It takes a lot to survive. In Lenny Abrahamson’s Room, Brie Larson shines as ‘Ma’, a woman held captive in a room for seven years, with her 5-year-old son Jack. Sean Bridgers is well cast as Old Nick, Ma’s captor, sexual abuser and biological father to Jack. This film is as harrowing as it is beautiful, and is above everything else, a film about survival.

Originally a New York Times Best Seller, Room explores the depths of the human capacity to reach outside ourselves and our situations to get to something better. Larson deserved the Academy Award for Best Actress which she won for her role; both traumatised and clinging to her hopes for freedom from Room. However, the out and out star of the film who gave a mind blowing performance despite his age, was Jacob Tremblay as Larson’s son Jack. He managed to portray to perfection a child who had only known Room, and now had to take part in turning his own world upside down in an effort to obtain freedom for himself and his mother. Tremblay’s childlike wonder and denial was heart-breaking but perfectly pitched as a true representation of what happens when we grow.

The journey from inside the room to the outside world is a magnificent and terrifying one. The pace of thefilm does not sway despite the changes in surroundings, and the audience is given a very real perspective on what happens when you come out of trauma; how it sometimes never leaves you.

With supporting appearances from seasoned actors William H Macy and Joan Allen, the standard of acting is high, and helps pulls the film forward with a glimpse into the now changed and slightly broken family of Ma’s, with the pieces of it that remain since her kidnapping. This is all presented behind a sea of sweeping images, with strong blues and greens, and bright white lights, as seen through the eyes of Jack. He narrates the film sparsely; only at the crucial moments where things fall in and out of place and their world view shifts and moves forward as they try to make sense of it.

As a contender for the unconventional, Room is outstanding, and perhaps made more so by the fact that the original author of the book Emma Donoghue, also wrote the screenplay for the film. There are scenes where the tension is built so well that even when you think you might know what will happen, there is still uncertainty and you feel yourself being pulled in. One scene in particular involving a truck, a man and a dog, might even take your breath away as you walk in the character’s shoes.

Room explores a topic not overly seen in films, but unfortunately seen in recent years on the news. Stories of kidnapping and entrapment of young women, used as sex slaves and bearers of secret children are not as uncommon to hear about as they once were. However what Room does is focus on the complex dynamics between a mother and child in the most difficult of circumstances, and the power and strength that comes out of that kind of relationship. Including the will for your loved ones to survive, even if you don’t.

Written by Maame Blue

 

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