My sister and I went to see Room last week, not to be confused with The Room, the excellent 2003 film by Tommy Wiseau.
It’s horrifying, if not more so than the novel. It’s about five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his ma, Joy (Brie Larson), who have been living as hostages in a man’s garden shed since the day he was born. After escaping captivity, they must learn to adjust to the outside world.
The movie starts on the morning of Jack’s birthday, when his mom announces they’re going to bake a cake. “Like the ones on TV?” he says. This is just one of the little details that indicates what a f-cked up situation they’re in. Like while his mother is raped three feet away from him every night, Jack counts the creaks the mattress makes. And that’s part of what makes Room so terrifying. (When you’re done reading the book, try The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. It’s just as chilling.)
Like the novel, we’re looking at an adult situation through a child’s eyes, except with a little more access, for the sake of continuity. In particular, we see Ma struggle to acclimate to the real world again after seven years as a prisoner. The movie briefly touches on her choices as a mother, but not as much as I would’ve liked. Those moral questions were what made the book so compelling.
And GODDAMN Larson is good. Like, really good. I honestly think she’s a frontrunner for Best Actress this year. She and Tremblay have so much chemistry as mother and son. Although I wonder how a kid that young can act in a movie like this without understanding the gravity of it. Ma’s scenes with her own mother (Joan Allen) are especially heartbreaking.
Room is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. But 2016 is still young, and we have plenty of time for sh-tty movies, like this one.
Image credit: A24 Films