Release date: September 4th 2015
(Another Best Picture Nominee)
To truly experience a movie, I believe you have to allow yourself to be immersed in the reality expressed on the screen. A good film will cause chairs, lighted aisles and the sounds of people munching popcorn to drift away until you feel as if you are in the scene with the characters.
Room is a good film.
A good chunk of this film takes place in room and for that beginning chunk all we see is room and it’s contents. Including Ma (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who was born in room and has lived all of his five years confined in this space. As far as he knows nothing exists outside of those four walls, which we must assume as well.
As the movie progresses and he beginnings to uncover the truth about the world we do too, right along with him. This is helped by the POV shots as if we are looking through Jack’s eyes at his surroundings. This intensifies the reality and the tension in certain moments throughout the film.
While watching the sequence of the escape from room, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. With every stop of the truck and shot of the shovel, my blood pressure demanded that little boy wriggle and run to freedom. I wasn’t aware that I was so tense until I realized the physical impact this scene, the editing, the score, the story, was having on my mind and body.
Don’t worry. I’m fine.
*END SPOILER ALERT*
This film was slow in a few places, but the concept was refreshing. Usually, if there is a story about a kidnapping/hostage situation, you get it from the rescuer’s perspective. (Some could argue this one is too, i guess) But this one stayed with the victims the entire time. And it didn’t just stop once they *SPOILER* escaped, but stayed with them during the recovery process, which wasn’t all happy and easy.
This film made an interesting point about when we actually develop and grow as humans. We see Jack’s growth in the film physically, thanks to some writings on the wall, but mentally he’s only started to develop, which works to his advantage on the outside. On the other hand, Ma or Joy (her real name) is done growing. She is 24 when we are introduced to her in room, she lived in the world once, but not for a long time. She finished her period of mental growth in room, which hinders her ability to adjust once outside the walls.
This movie could have been very lackluster if it had just slipped into another episode of Law and Order: SVU, but it didn’t. It stuck with the characters, and got them through this experience even if it was hard and not necessarily something you wanted to witness. It stayed away from being procedural and instead focused on telling a raw and honest story with complex and well developed characters.
*Bonus: Brie Larson was great, but Jacob Tremblay delivered a knock out performance. Give that kid an Oscar.