Room Review

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No room to breathe.

by Casimir Harlow May 2, 2016 at 8:12 AM

  • Movies review

    Room Review

    Powerful and traumatic, the Oscar-winning Room – based on the best-selling novel which, itself, was forged on a true story – is a tough watch.

    Although arguably almost as effective in its storytelling, indie filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson’s film adaptation of Room (adapted by the book’s own writer, Emma Donogue, who forges a solid although incomplete vision of the original tale) barely tries to hold back on the sizeable revelation of the book – itself made much easier to conceal due to the fact that it was written from the perspective of its five year old protagonist – and instead fairly quickly reveals the unspeakable horrors levelled at its two lead characters who’ve been held in captivity for years.
    With nothing but the titular ‘room’ to regard as the whole world, Jack has been brought up as best as possible by his mother but struggles to accommodate elements of his 'real' world (which is basically everything in the room) and those he sees on TV. Now old enough for his mother to tell him the truth, Jack has to do a lot of growing up overnight if the two of them ever hope to escape their prison.

    Undoubtedly lead actress Brie Larson (previously arguably just as impressive in Short Term 12) pulls out all of the stops to convince as the tortured mother, earning her an Oscar in the process, but it’s somewhat surprising (especially considering the other controversies levelled at this year’s Oscars) that the young 8 year old kid Jacob Tremblay, who plays the boy Jack, didn’t even get a nod in terms of a nomination for his spectacular performance.

    Although more sidelined than his character was in the book – which, as aforementioned, was told from his perspective – Tremblay still provides the emotional core of the piece, driving home the impact of much of the horror on offer, and perfectly capturing the fearful innocence and atypical imagination of a child in these circumstances.

    How old do you have to be to get noticed by the Oscar committee?

    Despite these more political controversies, and the inherent abbreviations (which undermine some important side elements, like the screaming game) made to abridge the full novel into a more condensed 2 hour feature, Room remains a tough but compelling must-see tale of survival and the unbreakable bond between a mother and child, and comes recommended.

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