By George Chandler
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay
To Ma (Brie Larson) Room is a prison. To Jack, Room is his whole universe, complete with a heaven, an ocean and its own wildlife (here’s looking at you, “Eggsnake”). Like many other films which have dealt with a child’s imagination influencing his/her surroundings, this could have easily become a bloated and shallow CGI romp. Instead, Jack’s imagination and interpretation of his confined, yet vast, 10 x 10 world are used to great effect to drive some of the most genuine dialogue put to film, with Ma trying to explain many of the concepts that the rest of us take for granted. These conversations, which slowly unravel Jacks fairy-tale world are some of Room’s most fascinating moments.
From the opening shot of Room it becomes very clear that this is not the film its subject matter would have you believe it to be. Although it deals with themes of long term captivity, it should be made clear that it is neither a thriller nor does it linger on the more unpleasant aspects of the situation our two leads are thrust into. Yes, it may have you on the edge of your seat at times but the real focus here is on the resolve of the human spirit, its ability to overcome and a sense of childlike wonder.
A mention must go to the sweeping, ethereal soundtrack from Texas band, This Will Destroy You, which helps cement Room’s tone of overall marvel and discovery, spearheaded by an outstanding breakout performance by Jacob Tremblay (Jack) and Brie Larson (Ma), who gives the best performance of her career. The chemistry and relationship between the two actors appears as though it has existed long before we arrived and will stay long after we have left.
An honest and deeply affecting story of the relationship between a Mother and her son, Room is certainly one of the best films in recent memory and is likely an experience that will stay with you for quite some time after you have finished watching.