Room, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, is a horrific and heartbreaking story of a woman kidnapped and trapped in a room for 7 years with her son by her kidnapper. Is it good? It can’t really be placed on the spectrum of good and bad. It’s tragic and bleak and you want to turn it off just about every five minutes. It’s an ambitiously unique kidnapping story that teeters dangerously near needlessly gruesome. But the performances of the two main actors tip it into beautiful.
Brie Larson shines as Joy Newsome, “Ma” to her 5-year-old son, Jack, played by Jacob Tremblay. Tremblay performed at a level far beyond his age; his emotionally maturity comes across as he conveys the complicated dichotomy of a child experiencing the only world he has ever known with typical childish innocence and precociousness and a child living a constant nightmare. The emotional narratives of both Joy and Jack change on a dime and both Larson and Tremblay never fall out of the moment.
The theater’s collective breath is held for two hours, the only reprieves being the surprisingly touching, shockingly normal, and even funny moments between mother and son. Room cannot be described as heartwarming; ultimately, you are left to wonder if there is a happy ending possible. But if the measure of a story’s worth is the empathy you feel for the characters and the amount that you are unable to remove yourself from their circumstances, then Room succeeds by miles.
Watch the trailer here:
Images via A24 Films
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Taia is a fabulous human who is working and writing in New York City. She writes about politics, reproductive rights, and pop culture. When not writing she likes to sleep, read Carl Sagan, and do as many squats as her legs can handle. Follow her on Twitter @taiahandlin and Facebook as Taia Handlin.