This post has taken a while because, while it’s good to write a review fresh, some films demand that you sit with them for a bit to let the dust of your new post-that-film life settle. Such a film was ‘Room’.
Based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, follows the story of ‘Ma’, a girl held captive by a man who repeatedly rapes her, eventually resulting in the birth of her son Jack. Ma, Brie Larson, lets Jack, Jacob Tremblay, grow up believing the room in which they live is the whole world, a story he believes until he is five and they filly escape together.
‘Room’ is fantastic for many reasons. Maybe it’s because Donoghue, who wrote the original book, also wrote the brilliant screenplay. So often we see the original writers cut out of the loop when it comes to transposing their stories to the big screen. For some, like with the ‘Harry Potter’ franchise, the film of the novel becomes more a caricature of the original piece. The deeper relationships of the characters are sacrificed for the ‘greater good’ of the plot. ‘Room’, however, has it’s plot completely based around the character development of its main protagonists and so maintains the sensitivity necessary to deal with such delicate subject matter.
Lenny Abrahamson, who previously directed ‘Frank’, clearly has an amazing way of working with actors to reveal a total honesty in their performances. ‘Room’ could have been so many things; Cheesy, graphic, cliche. Yet Abrahamson did not play up to any of these Oscar bait tactics instead bringing us a beautifully created spaces and truly perfectly paced, emotive performances.
Though these factors undoubtedly play a huge past in making ‘Room’ the masterpiece it is, it’s the relationship between Larson and Tremblay that makes this film so beautiful to watch. For me, character development is all when it comes to making something perfect, the way these two interacted and how their relationship developed so organically both inside and outside the room they were trapped in made it an incredibly moving and powerful film.
Brie Larson has rightly been given a huge amount of adulation for her performance. As ‘Ma’ she shows how in the room she is clearly in a living hell, yet she creates for her son an entire reality in which to exist. She plays her character not as a heroine, but a protagonist of her reality, which may sound pretentious until you see the film.
I have never seen a child actor better than Tremblay. As far as I am concerned he could win best male/supporting male for his performance. He at once is able to create a completely believable character who not only believes ‘room’ is his entire world, but then is able to convince us of the stinginess of our own reality once he makes it to the outside.
The relationship these two created onscreen, while undoubtedly developed by Abrahamsson, is so deeply personal and magical that it is genuinely hard to leave them in the cinema. ‘Room’ isn’t close to a perfect film, it is a perfect film. Go, see it, it will enchant you.
(image credits to reelviews.net)