Never has a movie with an unassuming name such as this, created a deeper impact on us. Room left us grasping at the last straws of what really defines the perception of the world around us. Are we prisoners of reality? Are we living in denial knowing that there can never be any escape for us and as a defence mechanism have made this cage our own?
Joy, played by Brie Larson, is a single mother who lives in a tiny hundred square foot room with her five year old son Jack. The story begins without any semblance of a context as to why they are there, living in apparent destitution. Many questions fleet across your head – is the mother a drug addict, is the child mentally handicapped. There are no windows in the prodigal room and the only proof that there is a world outside is a little skylight on the ceiling. There was even a moment when we found ourselves fabricating wild theories just trying to explain the situation of those two characters on-screen, refusing to accept their fate without a preamble. A possible scenario of a post-apocalyptic world and they being the only survivors fleets across our heads. Larson astutely strikes a balance between a mother who has to keep her child happy while her face portrays a deep sense of helplessness about having no future except the Room. That is perhaps the only indication we get about something being deeply amiss.
From her best-selling novel of the same name, writer Emma Donoghue’s adaptation is mysteriously gripping and told with such clever innocence that not for one moment you care to think of it being a criminal incidence. The focus on Jack’s view of the outside world being a television program in an attempt by Joy to make things easier to explain and stay optimistic, is unnervingly dark. As the events gradually unfold tipping into catharsis, innocence turns into shock and outrage. We see a middle-aged man periodically coming into the room by pressing a password on the numbered keypad by the door. Every time, during his visit, Jack is kept hidden inside the only cup-board in the room as he systematically rapes his mother. As the stark, brutal truth reveals itself, the explanation becomes much simpler than the wild theories that had run across our heads.
Room is not your typical crime drama. Its much deeper in its treatment than just an account of the atrocities on the victim and the subsequent rescue. It is the triumph of sheer love of a mother over endless despair. It is the sense of being free and knowing the world which you thought wasn’t real. It is about finally accepting what was your fate and then moving on without looking back.
Larson is the embodiment of the human spirit and her chemistry with Jacob Tremblay is beautifully poignant. Tremblay’s insightful narration throughout the film keeps us grounded in the hope for justice and morality. One of the many memorable quotes is when Jack imagines what might be outside the skylight and is convinced that he has grown-up, saying – “When I was small, I only knew small things. But now I’m five, I know everything !”
Oscar 2016 mentions (in order of probability):
Best Actress: Brie Larson has been a revelation in this film and has been touted by critics as a top contender despite it being her very first yet well-deserved nomination.
Best Director: This would be another first for Room, as Lenny Abrahamson strides into his very first Oscar nomination with a brilliant portrayal of a serious and emotionally striking drama, essentially redefining the genre.
Best Picture: Room faces tough competition in this category with Oscar weathered directors like Iñárritu (The Revenant) and an equally impactful crime drama in Spotlight. Having said that, Room’s very treatment and poetic story-telling places it right there with the top horses in the race.
gobblpoint: One of the most intriguing crime dramas till yet, this one is not to be missed. Larson and Tremblay have given one the most haunting performances in recent times.
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