‘Room’ is Claustrophobic, Sobering and Beautiful

November 20, 2015135 min

Maternal instinct and the level of protection that is instilled in that instinct is one of the most explored and endearing themes of “Room”. That theme goes a long way to tell the heartbreaking journey of the isolated worlds that sometimes nuclear families make for themselves.

“Room” is based on the best-selling novel by the same name. It tells the story of a mother, simply refried to as Ma,  who was taken by a stranger at a young age and forced to live with her child, Jack, in a small shack. The two are kept in a tiny and cluttered room filled with only the bare essentials in order to survive. Bed, rug, small kitchen etc. Anything that they require has to be approved by the kidnapper. When he comes by and unlocks the digital combination door, he expects sexual favors in return for his time, effort and supplies.

Since Jack has never seen the outside world, Ma creates a place called “Room” that is the only thing that exists. She makes up games to play in the 10 x 10 room and never leads on that she is sad or hurt in anyway. She protects her son from the real world and kidnapper at all costs. When circumstances push her to form a daring escape plan for Jack, they are suddenly exposed to a very loud and alien world outside.

“Room” is beautifully shot. The filmmakers managed to make the tiny prison feel less claustrophobic than the outside world with brilliant uses of angles, lighting and lenses. This aspect takes the audience for the same alienating ride that Ma and Jack have to go through to adjust the world that we are used to seeing everyday.

Brie Larson (Short Term 12) is brilliant and at her best in this film. She plays the role with a sincerity that will call the afore mentioned protective nature of a mother to mind. Her ability to hide under the surface of feeling is something that begs to be seen. Jacob Tremblay, who plays Jack, is a one-of-a-kind force. His innocence and vulnerability brings something real to the role. There are devastating monologues that he gives throughout that give small outlines of what he believes “Room” is that will break your heart. This is one of those rare times where I couldn’t see this film working with anyone else but this young actor.

“Room” is a sobering experience and one that is hard to champion without tears. Watching this mother and son adjust under the claustrophobic pressures of the real world are simultaneously uplifting and horrifyingly real. The trauma is something that is almost too real to handle at times, but is none-the-less a film that is one of the best acted and best stories I have seen in 2015.

Trey Hilburn III

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