What a movie! Irish film director Lenny Abrahamson’s Room blew me away completely. I had read the book by the same name by Emma Donoghue a couple of years ago and this movie version is so true to the original story it is chilling. It tells the story of Joy or Ma (Brie Larson) who lives in ‘Room’ with her five-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay).
The story is told through Jack’s eyes, although we see undercurrents of the distress his mother hides from him in her eyes, however much he may not understand it. The reason that the two of them live in ‘Room’ is because when Joy was 17, she was abducted by a man she calls ‘Old Nick’ and held captive.
Seven years later and Joy is still in ‘Room’ and has no way out, with a door with a code lock and sound-proofed walls. The only view to outside is through a reinforced skylight in the ceiling. Joy and Jack get through the days with a schedule of activities devised to keep them fit and sane. However one night when Old Nick visits, Jack ventures out of the cupboard his mother makes him hide in and causes a fight between Nick and Joy. This results in Nick turning off the electricity and heating to Room to punish them and thus provokes a plan of escape so that both can be finally free.
Without giving away any spoilers, the escape effort and the aftermath are truly tense and stressful as everything rides on Jack coming through for his mother. I was quite worried that this adaptation would not ever be able to evoke the same essence of the book but thankfully my fears were for nothing.
Brie Larson is quietly spellbinding as a woman trying to be a good mother while wrestling with the anger and fear of being held captive. While there is very little to smile at during this film, Jack provides a little light in the dark and provides some much-needed relief in all the suspense and tension.
Room is a moving and captivating masterpiece and will no doubt be raking in the trophies come awards season. A must-see movie, however horrifying the premise is and a powerful depiction of human survival.
Out nationwide on January 15th.