This is an intense story of a mother, Joy (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who have been held captive for over 5 years, and how they finally escaped. This plot cuts a little close to stories that have happened in reality, which in itself is unbelievably sad that this could actually happen to someone and yet that is undeniably part of what makes the audience take this film so seriously. It is a story of heartbreak and misery but it is also a story of hope and wonder; it will seize your attention and pull you in for a whole different perspective on life and how much is taken for granted.
Brie Larson has started her year off with a bang, rightly claiming her title as best actress (Drama) at the Golden Globes, watching the film shows you exactly why she won, and blew everyone else out of the water. Larson as Joy is tragic in such a way that you cannot take your eyes off of her, a character so broken and yet unfailingly committed to her son; only wanting to keep him safe and unaware of the terrifying ordeal that is actually happening every second, the strength of her is incredible. Her performance is outstanding and this seems like just the beginning of her potential after garnering more attention following Short Term 12 in 2013, but talking of potential we have to talk about Tremblay. Playing Jack, Tremblay shows skills much above his years and an enormous amount of talent; displaying an inordinate amount of emotion and strength in one tiny character. Taking into consideration that Tremblay is a child of today’s world with our technology and ridiculous amount of comfort and decadence, to be in the world of a child with such a limited view is asking a lot to do convincingly, but he succeeds without a doubt. These two actors together are such a wonderful team, and despite horrible circumstances are a delight to watch go through it and communicate it to the audience, you couldn’t ask for better casting.
Further than that the actual style of the film is fantastic, it succeeds so well in not only showing you what is going on but pushing you to see it from their perspective, mostly Jack’s. The great thing about that is for the first half being in Room, filming the characters in such close quarters and managing to not make it feel claustrophobic for a second; showing how they live their life in that small of a space, how Joy does so much to give Jack everything he needs while sheltering him from reality, at the same time as holding herself together. Not only that but once Jack finally gets into the real world, it makes you see things with wonder in the same way he does, after being closed in Room with the two of them as an audience when he finally escapes it’s very much as if you’re going through it with him. Director, Lenny Abrahamson (Frank, What Richard Did) does a fantastic job, admittedly being honest it briefly trails off during the transition from captivity to reality but it picks itself back up before long and does not affect the film as a whole.
It may only be the second week in January but I am extremely impressed by this film and have no doubt it will remain in my favourites for the year come December. Holding so tight to two people and really putting you there with them, giving you a real connection to them is something that both Joy and The Danish Girl failed to do so far this year, while for Room it is effortless. It may have some serious competition with Star Wars still running strong, and The Revenant and Creed being released the same day, but you do not want to miss Room; you will be hearing its name right through the award season and it gets my strongest of recommendations.