Room (2015)

2:00 PM

Love Knows No Boundaries 
This review may contain spoilers
 Room is directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Frank, What Richard Did) and stars Brie Larson (21 Jump Street, Trainwreck), Jacob Tremblay, William H. Macy (Fargo, Shameless) and Joan Allen (Face/Off, The Bourne Ultimatum). "After five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery". Room has earned itself 4 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director - does it live up to the hype?

Room is a refreshingly different, incredible film. I cannot say enough positive things about it. Even though the film does have its flaws, it is still a very good movie. The film is split into two halves - the first hour which is located inside the room and the second hour where the characters escape and experience the world. I have to say, I preferred the first half a lot more to the second - it had a clearer narrative and was just more intriguing in general. Overall though, Room is a very good film that I would definitely recommend. 

Room includes some of the best performances that I have seen from any 2015 release. Brie Larson is absolutely fantastic in this movie - she gives such an emotional and moving performance - the audience can connect to and route for her. Larson definitely deserves all of the praise she is getting and I really do hope she wins the Oscar. Larson is a great example of someone who has gone under the radar for so long, starring in comedy films like 21 Jump Street and then shocks us with a superb performance in a film like this - astonishing! Larson is supported incredibly well by Jacob Tremblay who has to give one of the best performances I have ever seen a young actor give. Tremblay definitely isn't annoying and is also identifiable and makes the audience feel moved and emotional. I think the chemistry between these two is captivating and if there was a prize for best on-screen combo - they would definitely win it. Even though they are the stars of the show, Larson and Tremblay are supported well by Joan Allen and William H. Macy who both do excellent jobs. I think Room is just one of those films that is very near perfect - it has everything covered. 

So I mentioned before that the film is split into two. In the first half, both characters, Joy/Ma and Jack are confined in this room and the audience are unaware of why they are there for quite some time. However, this isn't a bad thing as it helps to build intrigue and speculation surrounding this which was really effective. When the captor makes their first appearance, it is very uncomfortable to watch as you are seeing everything through Jack's eyes - what is going on is disgusting. This breaks down the character of Joy who seems quite strong at first but as soon as the captor enters, she becomes very vulnerable. I loved the comparisons to Alice In Wonderland - I thought this was very clever and just thought in general that the film was very intelligent. I thought it was also unique and interesting to see this type of film from the victims point of view - usually the film would occur from the families point of view and all of the intrigue would be about who captured them and where they are. However, in Room, we are only ever with the victims. When Joy plans the escape, I thought both of her attempts were very intelligent. This added a faster pace to the film as you had a sense of hope that they would escape and....they did!...

...That brings me on to the second half of the film. I have to say that very first moment where Jack sees the world send shivers down my spine - it was extremely moving and very memorable. It is so hard to put yourself in Jack's shoes as we all know the world as it is but imagine living in one room since you were born for 5 years and then knowing the world existed- that feeling must have been incredible. This feeling was conveyed really well through the music, cinematography and Tremblay's performance. The moment where Jack and Joy are reunited was also very emotional and moving - all of their hope paid off - they were free. Then that was it really, I thought - 'they're out, we're going to see Jack experience the world for maybe 30 minutes and that will be it'. Even though thats how things did pan out (but slightly longer), I think the emotion and power of the scenes that had just occurred faded as the film went on. The film did become very slow paced towards the end but there were some moments of sparkle still left in the film - when Jack meets a dog for the very first time, when Jack cuts his hair to give 'strength' to his Ma - this was all very powerful and moving stuff. In general though, the first half was a lot more interesting to watch as the second half just lacked a clear narrative. 

Room is really well shot - it just felt very clear, crisp and that a lot of effort had been put into the cinematography. I think the camerawork here really helped create some of the emotion which was a big winning factor of the film. 

Room is emotional, sad, moving but does give a good message about hope. The film is lead by two incredible performances from Larson and Tremblay. The story may have some pacing and narrative problems in the second half but that doesn't take anything away from how unique and powerful some of the moments in this film are. This has to be the first film where we get to see a serious situation from the eyes of a child and I think it was just a clever and intelligent idea. As Joy escapes from her rabbit hole, Jack falls into his - luckily, his rabbit hole takes him to a much more positive Wonderland. I can't say enough nice things about Room, it definitely isn't dull and is just really powerful. 


4 STARS
A-

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