Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
'Room' is not the usual cinema we are subjected to. And what makes it extra special is the point of view that it seeks to explore-that of a young 5-year-old Jack(Jacob Tremblay) born of a series of rapes on his then 17-year-old, captive, mother. Abducted and incarcerated and subjected to the most inhuman of tortures, the terrified young girl Joy (Brie Larson) delivers her baby in captivity, in a 10ft x 10ft locked down garden shed and the narrative is not necessarily about the heinous act of inhumanity she was being subjected to, as it is of the wonderful manner in which the 'Ma' tries to bring up her child with all the love and protectiveness she herself lost on that fateful day of her abduction. The room is the only home Jack has experienced since his birth and his 'Ma' is his life. She is the one who keeps him safe and tucked away from harm's way even in the closeted space of their forced isolation. Ma does her best to give her son as normal a life as possible, in spite of the awful circumstances, playing games and telling stories and protecting him from the knowledge of the 'real' world outside.
Watch the trailer of 'Room'...
But obviously, that false idyllic would not last especially since Jack was growing older as the days go by and Ma had to find a way to send him off to safety away from her abductor, his father (Sean Bridgers). With Jack's help, Joy/Ma orchestrates an escape plan where her son, Jack, has to play dead for him to be removed, rolled up in a rug and disposed off . His Ma has of course trained him to seek help and provide the exact details of her location so that the police can come and rescue her. And from therein begins the real tale.
With Joy and Jack living out in the open, the dynamics between them are beginning to change. Jack's vision of the world gets enhanced while Ma's get's even narrower as her fears and nightmares seek to enshrine Jack in her protective nest. As Jack begins to realize the extent of what he missed, he gets more and more enthusiastic about exploring different aspects of his new found world. While Ma on the other hand seeks to imprison him within her secure boundaries. It's indeed painful to see both, parent and child struggle to cope with the barriers of the past and build a healthier more secure future for themselves.
Lenny Abrahamson's intimate rendering of the experience is quite harrowing. You are so glued into the nightmare of their incarcerated experience that you very nearly feel imprisoned in it. This film was adapted from Emma Donoghue's novel which in turn was inspired by a similar true story. And since many more stories of such heinous acts have been brought out into the open. 'Room' as Abrahamson delivers it, is an indelible experience. It has the power to open our hearts and minds to an experience that most of us would never even come close to experiencing.
This is definitely not an easy watch. The suspense is simply put, unbearable. Once you are immersed in the experience you wish you could stop it somehow but you feel so imprisoned by the realism that you just can't get out even if you want to. From claustrophobic to haunting to painful to honest and uplifting, the narrative smoothens out a route of growth and change for it's characters, making it both enlightening and uplifting. There's a complex psychology underlying the narrative. And it's illustrated in subtle and overt hues as required by the form. The scripting is also quite effective. The performances here are breathtakingly real. There's simply no room for artifice or attitude here. Brie Larson (she's already been nominated for the Oscar) stands a strong chance of stealing a march from under 'Carol' Kate Blanchett and 'Brooklyn' Saoirse Ronan's light. Jacob Tremblay puts in a singularly heart-breaking and earnest performance. Abrahamson, Larson and Tremblay really make this experience a triumph!