You may have heard about 'Room' and you may have heard about this 'Brie Larson' amongst the start of the awards season, both are getting a lot of Oscar buzz, but you don't really know what it is, who she is and why it's getting so much attention. That was me, till last night.
Adapted from the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue (which I'm desperate to read now), 'Room' tells the story of a four year old boy Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who lives with his mother (Brie Larson) in Room, unbeknownst to him that they are in fact being held captive in a shed by a man only known to him as 'Old Nick'.
As Jack turns five, his curiosity wanders and his world in Room is turned upside down when his mother hatches a plan for the both to escape...
Split into two halves, the first is a pacy, gripping and at times claustrophobic look at Jack and his Ma's life in Room, followed by their rehabilitation into the real world. Not knowing the structure of the movie, I was initially shocked that they had managed to escape to soon and that the movie was nearly over, but that is perhaps a critique to standard Hollywood formulas, where you build up to a climax, hatch the escape and then fluffy ending.
'Room' does not shy from this and shifts its attention to the reality of life after the escape. Whilst I was less intrigued cinematically by this second half, it is poignant and necessary. How Ma and Jack respond differently to the real world post-capture is powerful.
Whilst the initial themes are dark (captivity, abuse, oppression), the film focuses on the wonderful bond between Jack and Ma, how despite their predicament, she tries to craft a perfect world for him within Room. When Jack says 'I Miss Room sometimes', as a viewer you think 'What? How could you miss that place where you are beseiged against your will' but to him, it's a place where he is always with Ma and that's the association he has to that place.
Moving from tense thriller to melodrama, the movie ends on a strong return to the core of the film: Jack and Ma's deep bond, despite all that they go through, they will always have each other.
Brie Larson- Ma
Jacob Tremblay- Jack
Joan Allen- Grandma Nancy
Sean Bridgers- Old Nick
In a film climate that's dominated with blockbusters, remakes and franchises, 'Room' stands out as a poignant adaptation of a book that features dark themes and an intriguing look at relationships as well as a fresh perspective of life through the eyes of Jack.
'Room' definitely deserves awards acclaim and for me, sits right there at the top with 'Ex Machina' as one of the best movies of 2015.