Every once in a while a movie comes out that is so special and so powerful you won't be able to stop thinking about it long after you've left the theatre. Such is the case with Room, a film that is not only creating a lot of buzz and high praise from critics and movie goers but is garnering a whole lot of attention as a front runner for the upcoming Academy Awards.
Based on the Emma Donoghue's best selling novel of the same name, Room centers around five year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who lives all day, every day with his Ma, Joy (Brie Larson) in a 11 x 11 foot four-walled "room" that is locked with a code entry on a metal door. They wake, eat, bathe, and play together and the only time Ma and Jack are apart is at night, when he’s put in a wardrobe to sleep, and Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) enters. You see, Old Nick kidnapped Ma when she was 17 and as you can probably figure out, this is clearly a case of a woman raped during her captivity who had a son during these horrifying events.
When I read the book more than two years ago and heard that a film was going to be made my first thoughts were, how on earth are they going to achieve this? Director Lenny Abrahamson pulled it off in spades, not only giving us a compassionate and moving story but casting extraordinary actors to play the leads.
Room will touch your heart in more ways than one. It is not just a tale of terror or survival, but at it's core is a soul-searing celebration of the undeniable bond that endures even under the most unbearable of circumstances between a parent and a child. “Room's" power to move audiences, as it clearly did when it won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, lies in the film’s relatable core relationship between a mother and her son. A son who knows no other world than the one his Ma has created and a mother who has no one else to give her hope except for her innocent son. Thanks to Ma’s non stop efforts, Jack is a bright, energetic, and healthy. He is well-versed in at least some literature and loves “Dora the Explorer” and her animated adventures ( due to a small TV in the room) but to him, the room represents reality while TV is just make-believe.
As for Ma, her whole focus is on Jack’s well-being and rarely her own. She ignores a painful rotting tooth in her mouth until it falls out and it immediately becomes one of her son’s most prized possessions. She is endlessly resourceful, turning cardboard toilet paper rolls and egg shells connected by string into playthings. For her, Jack is her anchor and her reason to carry on.
The performances in Room are simply outstanding. Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are hands down two of the best performances of the year. Larson proved herself a gifted actress with Short Term 12, and Room clearly shows her range has no bounds. There are really no words to describe Jacob Tremblay's remarkable performance. The nine year old actor from Vancouver clearly has a future as an actor and it will be NO surprise when this young man finds himself being nominated for a Best Supporting actor Oscar in the coming months. As a matter of when you actually think about it, as we see the film from his point of view as the narrator he is a lead character who holds the audience’s attention from start to finish, clearly making him a Best Actor front runner. In my humble opinion Jacob undeniably gives one of the best child performances ever seen on the big or small screen. He's just that good! The film also stars the wonderful Joan Allen as Joy's mother and William H. Macy who turns in a powerful yet brief appearance as Joy's father. The movie is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and the screenplay was written by the book's author, Emma Donoghue.
There is no doubt that you will be hearing a lot about this movie come Awards season, but do yourself a favour and see it before then. You will not regret it and you will not forget it.
I had the opportunity to speak with Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Emma Donoghue during the Toronto International Film Festival about working on this extraordinary film. Please check out the interviews below.
Room is currently playing in Toronto and opens nationwide on November 6th.