For my first review, I would like to discuss one of my favorite films from this past year, Room. Many of you may have heard of it simply from seeing the adorable Jacob Tremblay, a child actor in the movie, in the media. But besides presenting the cutest child actor since the little boy from Jerry Maguire to the world, Room is an outstanding film with a few flaws along the way.
Written by Emma Donoghue, Room follows Ma, the breathtakingly Brie Larson, and her five-year old son, Jack. Ma was captured by a creepy man, Old Nick, when she was 17, and Jack is a product of her many rapes. Never having been outside of the small room, Jack does not understand that there is a world outside of their depressing Room. Ma, determined to break out of her miserable situation, devises an escape plan for her son. But life isn’t easier for the mother and son on the outside. While Ma must face her seven-year long trauma and acclimate to the world she was taken from, Jack is discovering the strange world outside of Room, the only place he has ever believed was real.
The script is eloquently written and executed, but the story begins to feel a little soapy in the middle. Ma’s father is introduced when she returns to her family, but then abruptly leaves because he can’t handle being around Jack. He isn’t mentioned after his departure, and I would have preferred that her father wasn’t included at all.
Despite the strange addition of Ma’s father, I loved every other aspect of the film. The scene that I enjoyed the most is when Jack escapes Room and sees the world for the first time. The confusion and wonder Ma’s son feels is beautifully portrayed. The sun shined brighter. The wind sang louder. Everything is enhanced through his eyes, and it is shot beautifully. The director and cinematographer amazingly expose Jack to the space outside of Room.
With such a powerful and dramatic story, the score could have been really cheesy and overdone ; however, the composer, Stephen Rennicks, craftily creates the music. Not only are the images of the world enhanced through Jack’s eyes, but the sounds are as well. The smallest of sounds affect Jack differently since he has been a tiny room his whole life, and Rennicks superbly projects these details.
Jacob Tremblay, who plays Jack, does a fantastic job at reacting to everything that is around him. Jack is a little boy who doesn’t believe that the space outside of Room was reachable, and he is suddenly thrust into his unknown. Tremblay terrifically portrays the confusion and wonder Jack experiences, but also does a fine job of being a very bratty son when yelling with frustration at his mother.
Okay, I can’t write this review without giving praise to the brilliant Brie Larson for her portrayal of Ma. I’ve followed Larson’s career for a while now and was so pleased that she finally received a role that reveals how truly talented she is. She dominated the awards season, and she deserved it. Her character is fighting to keep herself together while also raising her son by her kidnapper in a place that has, quite frankly, been her own hell on Earth. Larson beautifully portrays Ma’s frustration when having to explain to her son that “Room” is their universe even though she knows and loves the outside world. She amazingly shows Ma’s inner turmoil when questioning whether she did enough for her son while imprisoned in “Room.” Most importantly, Larson truthfully presents a mother who is doing the best she can.
The character Ma was kidnapped when she was seventeen and graduating from high school. The future she always dreamed for herself was taken away from her in an instant. As a high school junior myself, one of the biggest lessons I took from this film was to take advantage of every opportunity given to me.
I absolutely recommend watching this film, but be prepared. I don’t think I’ve every experienced such a roller coaster of emotions while watching a film. . . and I loved every minute of it.
Through my eyes