Written by Emma Donoghue / Directed by Lenny Abrahamson / Starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay and Joan Allen
Jack: I want a different story.
Ma: No, this is the story that you get.
Lenny Abrahamson’s ROOM is one of those movies that will surely struggle to find an audience that is brave enough to face its difficult subject matter. It is also one of those movies that will floor all who do find the nerve to see it. Trust me; you don’t want to miss this one.
At the age of seventeen, a young girl (Brie Larson, whom we interview here) is kidnapped and locked in a shed to be used for her captor’s sexual purposes. Two years later, she has a child. Five years after that, we meet this remarkable young lady and her precocious son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Together, they make the most of their days in this tiny space they call Room. In order to give her son some semblance of a normal childhood, she has had to swallow all of her own pain every day for years, and has convinced Jack that the entire universe exists within the four walls that surround them. Everything on the outside of Room is outer space; everything on television is make believe. A sink is real because there is a sink in Room. Dogs are make believe because there are no dogs in Room.
One cannot talk about ROOM in too much depth without giving away key plot points. I will say that the second half is an even more fascinating character study than the first. The film is a true testament to the sacrifices made by one woman in order to protect her child from the evils of the world. The fact that she is still more or less a child herself when she goes through this ordeal makes her strength even more impressive. Larson is fearless and brilliant as the mother and Tremblay, who is only eight, is remarkable as her son. Together, they genuinely come across as inseparable. And even though this story is particular unto them, parents everywhere will easily be able to relate to the prevailing instinct to put your child’s needs before your own … if they’re brave enough to see the movie in the first place, that is.