I am going to preface this review by stating that I went into this film knowing almost nothing about it, which is an achievement, considering how easy it is to merely know a thing these days.
This was quite a bonus as Room is easily one of the best films of the year. So to preserve this experience for you, I suggest not reading any further and to go watch this revelation of a motion picture.
Room, based on the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue, is a story about Jack, a five-year-old boy and his mother, who are held prisoner in a small shed. Jack was born in the shed and knows nothing of the real world apart from what he sees on the television that their captor set up for them.
It was a brilliant choice by the writer (who is also the author of the book) to tell this story from the point of view of Jack rather than his mother. The concept of evil is foreign to a child his age and so he does not grasp the hideousness of their current situation. The decision enhances the ongoing theme of Room, which is to highlight the simultaneous detestability and beauty of the world we live in.
Brie Larson (Short Term 12) is incredible as Jack’s mother, once again making a strong case as to why she should be on your radar.
The true star of Room, however, is Jacob Tremblay, who plays Jack. Good child performances are hard to come by, which is understandable, but Jacob has achieved something special here.
The bulk of the film’s emotion rests on his tiny shoulders and he manages to pull it off with surgical finesse.
Just thinking of the scene where Jack sees the actual sky for the first time in his life is giving me goose bumps as I write this.
Director Lenny Abraham (Frank) does exceptional work, as well. His use of shallow space and extreme close-ups during the shed scenes achieved an intended feeling of claustrophobia. It makes you genuinely feel the plight of Jack and his mother to the point of discomfort.
Consequently, Room is an expertly-crafted piece of cinema that has affected my perspective on the world in a profound way. It does get a bit distressing at times, which might turn off some sensitive viewers, but this just adds to the film’s emotional tapestry.
If it fails to make an emotional impact, I can guarantee that at the very least, it will help you take a moment out of your day to look around and appreciate.