Room: Film Review

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I loved Room by Emma Donoghue – the novel was compelling, offered a fresh perspective and packed an emotional punch – so I was totally worried about the film adaptation. Luckily, Donoghue herself wrote the script and keeps everything I love about the book and the material is considerably elevated by two amazing performances from Brie Larson and Canadian youngster Jacob Tremblay.

The beginning of the film is seen through the eyes of Jack (Tremblay). He is five, and he has lived in ‘Room’ all his life. He thinks that is all there is in the world, and him and Ma (Larson) are the only people who exist, besides Old Nick, who visits them regularly with food and sleeps with Ma. Ma finally tells him she has been trapped in the garden shed for seven years, and she needs his help to escape. The second half shows both characters struggling to adapt to the world with the help of her parents (played by Joan Allen and William H. Macy).

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Director Lenny Abrahamson has done a brilliant job making Room feel as claustrophobic as I imagined. Even watching Jack do the most mundane things was interesting because he doesn’t realise what he is missing and his chemistry with Larson is incredible. They really do have a close bond and are utterly convincing as mother and son – the film wouldn’t had worked without that.

I cried at this a number of times because the acting between the two leads is just so strong and believable. You really do believe Ma will do anything for Jack and this film is a love story between them. But what Tremblay can do at such a young age is awe-inspiring. The escape scenes are very tense and powerful, but the back-into-world scenes are equally troubling as you know Ma is not transitioning well. It also gives a lot of time to how her return has affected her parents, who have divorced since her disappearance.

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Jack’s observations about the world really struck a chord with me. It is rare to get someone old enough to articulate experiencing the outside world for the first time. His narration in the second half was a stroke of genius. The film is essentially in two halves, and the second half did drag on a bit because you weren’t sure if it was going anywhere, although with each scene you could see Jack’s social skills improving. But it is so worth it. The ending is a great full circle moment.

I cannot fault this at all. Room is naturally very loyal to the book since Donoghue wrote both, and the novel’s intensity and emotion are there in heaps thanks to truly brilliant turns from Larson and Tremblay.

Note: I saw this as part of the London Film Festival in October. I wanted Larson and Tremblay to get recognised for their performances so I’m glad Larson is doing well. I’m very chuffed that Abrahamson and Donoghue also received Oscar nominations. 

In cinemas today

To see pictures from the Q&A after the screening, check here.

Comments

  1. Great buzz building on this film. Thanks for the personal insights!

Trackbacks

  1. […] is brilliant and my review can be seen here! I took many pretty crappy photos of the Q&A which you can see […]

  2. […] watched Room at the London Film Festival (review here) and I am so happy it is finally coming out so people can appreciate the incredible talent of Brie […]

  3. […] – Brie Larson. Her performance in Room is extraordinary (see review) and she totally deserves awards nominations. She is also brilliant in Short Term 12 and […]

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