For a film with so few actors and small scale settings, ROOM was an incredible film. Given the storyline, it’s not hard to understand how they found a way to provide plenty of opportunities for viewers to connect emotionally. In terms of films which were nominated for Best Picture, ROOM absolutely belonged among the best 2015 had to offer.
I often struggle trying to determine how many spoilers to give away when writing up a film review, but given the trailers for ROOM gave away more than I would have, I’ll go ahead and assume it’s okay to provide certain details, because it really helps frame what the movie is about.
The film begins with characters portrayed by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay locked in a living space and making the most of it. It was heart-warming to see the relationship between a mother and son find ways to have fun despite being forced into a small room without many comforts. When the scenes focus on Larson’s character, you can feel the love she has for her son and the weight she’s dealing with given the situation. And when the scenes focus on Tremblay, it’s obvious how his surroundings have shaped the person he is becoming. Hearts undoubtedly sank when the film shows his sleeping situation, but then once you realize how he not only made the best of the situation, but the emotional attachment he had to his sleeping arrangements.
If you haven’t seen the film and are afraid of having too much of it spoiled for you, I’ll take a moment to say that you should absolutely see the film. It’s phenomenal. The emotions on display, the character studies, the performances, they’re all part of an amazing film.
Go watch it.
No need to read anymore, if you’re already interested. Especially if you haven’t had too much of it spoiled by the trailers.
Keep avoiding those trailers until after you’ve seen the film.
And don’t read any further here, because I’m about to talk about part of the film that the trailers also spoil in a big way, and I’ll do so because it doesn’t take much away from the power of the film, and it lets me discuss more of the strong aspects of the film.
You’ve been warned.
The emotions really kick up considerably when Brie Larson’s character works with Jacob Tremblay on how he can escape. As she comes to the realization that she’s sending him out into the world as their one hope of finally escaping their captor, and that she might never see her son again after spending every waking moment of his life together, the hope mixed with sadness abounds, even if you already know that they do successfully escape after having seen the trailers. Brie Larson used that scene and at least a handful of others to show beyond a shadow of a doubt why she deserved not just a nomination, but to win the Oscar for Best Actress. The Academy Awards and most of the other award shows got it right. Anyone who also saw SHORT TERM 12 shouldn’t be surprised with Larson’s tremendous skills on display.
An interesting aspect of the film which I wasn’t expecting to have as much impact as it did was how the film dealt with her return to society, and her son’s introduction to the outside world… and family he never knew. Also built into the film is the inspection of how the family deals with the return of their daughter to their broken lives, and the presence of a grandson, conceived and born in captivity, they never knew existed.
I can’t say enough about how great ROOM is, and I can’t recommend it more highly.
My rating: 93 out of 100
Bonus recommendation: Once you’ve seen and enjoyed the power of ROOM, I’d consider checking out a film more than a decade old, IN THE BEDROOM, which is very similar in nature.