Review: ROOM

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

If Brie Larson does not get any nominations for her extraordinary performance in this film, I will be shocked.  What I would find perhaps even more shocking and disappointing would be a snub against her amazing co-star Jacob Tremblay.  The nine year-old wunderkind delivers such an amazing performance worthy of lead acting accolades.  Based on the critically acclaimed and award winning novel by Emma Donoghue, Room not only features exceptional acting by its lead actors and supporting cast, it also can boast outstanding direction by Lenny Abrahamson and an excellent screenplay by Donoghue who adapted her own novel.  I predict that Room will be the film to beat during awards season and a film no one should miss.

Larson stars as Joy Newsome, a young mother held prisoner in a garden shed with her five year-old son Jack (Tremblay).  Mother and son have been held captive in the shed for several years.  Their captor, “Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers) provides them with food and supplies, but will never willingly release them.  Jack only knows life in “Room”; however, his loving mother comes up with a smart, but risky plan to help him escape so that he may experience all that the world has to offer.

Writer Emma Donoghue and director Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) have made a truly amazing film that is, so far, my favorite movie of the year.  Donoghue’s novel tells the story from the perspective of five year-old Jack, but the film version offers additional perspectives from Joy and other adults in the film.  Donoghue and Abrahamson do have some wonderful and beautiful scenes narrated by Tremblay giving audiences Jack’s wide-eyed, innocent view of things. However, I do appreciate that, for the film, they chose to offer audiences a fuller and more well-rounded experience of the story.  Abrahamson, cinematographer Danny Cohen, and their crew have done some tremendous work here to create the near-claustrophobic feel of life in a shed and juxtapose it beautifully with the enormity of the outside world.

In addition to the superb acting by Larson and Tremblay, the movie also features wonderful performances by Joan Allen who portrays Joy’s mother Nancy and William H. Macy who plays Joy’s father Robert.  Sean Bridgers delivers an effectively creepy and despicable turn as Old Nick, the sick, disturbed and abusive captor.   Because of their limited screen time, Bridgers and Macy are probably long shots for award nominations.  Allen, on the other hand, stands a better chance as she has more time and her scenes are absolutely exquisite.

I will be flabbergasted if this movie and the talent behind it do not get the recognition they deserve.  The development of the story and its characters is truly remarkable. This phenomenal film, which delivers on all levels, is an emotional and resplendent experience that will leave an indelible impression on the heart of anyone who watches it.  It is movie that has all of the makings of a true classic that will be celebrated for many years to come.


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