dir. Lenny Abrahamson
Started off the year with a bang, I think. This was my first cinema trip this year, since the film opened on Friday here in the UK, and I’m really glad I went because it’s a beautiful, beautiful film.
In case you don’t know, Room tells the story of Joy (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) as they live trapped in a shed where Joy is kept as a sex slave by a man they call Old Nick. Jack is his son, but Joy raises him with her in the shed, and she doesn’t let Old Nick see or touch him. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone, so let’s just leave it at that. Ultimately, it’s a story about hope and lack thereof, solitude, and struggling with depression, and we mostly experience it through the eyes of Jack as he observes the world around him.
It’s an absolutely wonderful film. The world they live in, their little room, feels so real. They really created a space that looks lived-in, and the way they play around with how Joy and Jack use the room is ingenious. The look of the whole film is very realistic. They are not wearing make-up, they look sweaty, and Joy has spots on her face and hair under her arms, and in order to give him nutrients she breastfeeds him even though he’s five years old, which is great.
The best part of Room though is the relationship between Joy and Jack. It feels incredibly real, it’s not overly sappy, and they get angry at each other often, but they also make up just as frequently, and the way she holds him is very motherly. Brie Larson does a brilliant job in this. She looks gentle and frustrated, and the way she portrays her character’s depression is painfully realistic. I think this role more than any other (though she has had some fantastic roles in the past) really shows how brilliant an actress she is. She comes off as natural and mature, which is a wonder to watch. Alongside her, Jacob Tremblay also gives a fantastic performance. He is one of the best child actors I have ever seen, and his portrayal is real and sweet, especially from the second half onwards. He plays off Larson really well, and they have great chemistry onscreen.
Overall, I think this is already one of my favourite films of the year. It’s a simple story that will touch your heart but it is not pandering or tearjerking sap. I would 100% recommend this to anyone.