Let’s get one thing out of the way: Room is in no way related to David Fincher’s Panic Room starring Jodie Foster. Room is a completely different movie altogether and combines several genres all rolled into one: family drama plus psychological thriller plus crime. An independent movie directed by Lenny Abrahamson, Room went on to achieve accolades at all major film festivals, including four nominations at Oscars and ultimately won best actress (Brie Larson).
The movie opens up in a room, which is inhabited by Joy (Brie Larson), a 24 year old mother, and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who is five years old and has never been outside the room. Jack is led to believe that the entire world is inside this little room, to the point where Jack addresses each inanimate object as a living thing: good morning Table, hello Television, good night Bed and so on. Joy and Jack are held captive by Old Nick, who we find out is the biological father to Jack.
The movie is set in motion when Old Nick tells Joy that he cannot provide for them as fund are running low. So heating is shut off and food supplies dwindle. Joy hatches a plan to somehow make Jack escape the room and seek help from outside. How they manage to escape and adjust to life after being held captive forms the second half of the movie.
Room is a movie that demands patience from its viewers, but then it also rewards the viewers greatly. What may feel like a depressing and harrowing movie turns out to be a uplifting and triumphant movie. The human spirit, after all, is extremely resilient and will fight odds to achieve a better life.
Inside the Room
In the initial part of the movie, as we are shown the room which Joy and Jack inhabit, you wonder how they pass time and what they do all day. There is a small skylight window on the roof, through which Joy tells her son about the outside world. However, in order to justify to her son about them being in this room, she tells him that everything outside is fake. Mother and son bake a cake together, read stories, watch television and there is a real sense of maternal bonding. There are also moments when Jack is frustrated and annoyed and Joy finds it hard to parent him. It’s a real challenging situation to be in and credit to the director for being able to bring out such depth to the two characters. It’s certainly not easy portraying a character that’s been locked up in one small room.
Outside the Room
Once Jack and Joy escape from the room, Jack faces a great challenge in accepting his reality. For a long time, his mother had told him that the outside world is fake to keep him happy inside the room. But now that he’s out, he cannot process everything. The fresh air, the trees, the car, the people—he cannot process everything.
Their transition from living in a small room to moving to Joy’s parents house is something of a treat to watch, as we see everyone struggling with the change.
Room is a beautiful movie that explores the psychological aspect extremely well. It speaks a great deal about how a single mother can parent her child. It explores the dynamics of a family, especially when Jack’s grandparents are involved. Joy struggles to seek acceptance from her father, who cannot fathom that his grandson biological father is a rapist. The media hounds the family like anything and no one is ready to talk about anything. Joy attempts suicide and Jack saves her. There is also a great moment when Jack wants to visit the room they were held captive in. it was his way of seeking closure. These are real people with real-world problem, and ultimately Joy and Jack realize they make a formidable team together, and when they stick together, nothing can break them apart.
What starts out as a harrowing drama unfolds into this beautiful mother-son story that’s full of overcoming hurdles, sticking together and loving one another. The human spirit is indeed strong enough to emerge triumphant through some of the most difficult situations in life. Powerful, emotional and extremely uplifting, Room is a one of a kind movie watching experience.
5 out of 5