Hey guys! I’m new to WordPress, so to get a feel for the site and how it suits my hobbies of reviewing movies, my first reviews/posts will be ones that I’ve already written. In the spirit of the new year, I will be posting only my “Top 10” and “Bottom 5” movies of 2015 (or at least for the ones I wrote reviews for). Enjoy and let me know what everyone thinks. 🙂
To be honest, I didn’t know much about the movie when I saw its trailer. All I knew was that it starred Brie Larson, whom I’m a fan of from the TV show UNITED STATES OF TARA, and the immortally beautiful and ridiculously talented Joan Allen. I also knew this movie was getting some incredibly high praise. I decided it was either see this movie, or JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS… yeah, it wasn’t a very hard decision to make.
Based on the book of the same name, the story follows a young mother named Joy (Brie Larson) and her recently-turned five-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), living in a small living space under rough conditions, cared for only by the mysterious and shady Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), Jack believing that the whole world is the small room he lives in. But now that he’s turned five, his mom tells him that beyond the walls of their room is a whole world that Jack has never seen and begins a harrowing escape from their confinement and a chance to live a normal life.
FUN FACT: This movie was based on the book of the same name, written by Emma Donoghue. Donoghue also wrote the movie’s screenplay.
It’s fantastic. One of the best all year. But bear in mind, folks, this film is not for the faint of heart, especially the first twenty or so minutes. While other movies have had more intense visuals, I doubt few could claim to have an emotional impact like this movie had.
I mean, what can I say about this movie? Should I even bother with mentioning the acting? It’s fantastic and even though the story is told through Jack’s perspective, young Tremblay pulls off a fantastic performance for someone his age. Neither Larson nor Allen have ever done anything wrong. Macy’s solid, but only has about five to ten minutes worth of screen time. That’s pretty much it. Acting is phenomenal.
One of the biggest advantages of not knowing what this movie was about was the shock value. I wasn’t prepared to find out that “Room” was the name Joy and Jack gave to the shed they were living in. I was also unaware that it was just a huge shed.
Never mind the cramped space they live in, but the development of the relationship between the two characters is built up incredibly well. It takes its time letting you know that this isn’t a comedy or a drama-focused story without some light-hearted moments, but it is a story about a mother and son living in horrendous conditions, yet still find some joy in it. Make no mistake though, the story never forgets the typical struggles, or shying away from harsh realities. Everything adds up, everything makes sense and can be empathized with. Once Joy starts telling Jack that there is a world outside of Room, he’s confused and doesn’t believe her. He gets angry, yells, everything that you would expect a five-year-old kid to do when he’s lived his life believing in something that his mother told him. But there is that sense of triumph when he starts to have an open mind not long after.
Even once they start hatching a plan to escape their confinement, the way Joy involves her son and the lengths that she goes to, it’s all pretty shocking and disturbing. Gagging herself to slightly vomit, rubbing it in Jack’s hair to make him smell sick, it’s all a mix of clever and gross. Under any circumstances, these acts would be appalling, but the desperation and certain revelations make what they do completely understandable.
As soon as Jack is introduced to the world, I buy his acting over any acting from an adult. The way the movie is shot makes you see just how enormous the world really is. It would have been a sad day if they screwed that up, considering the small living space that he has grown up in all his life, and he’s never met another person outside of Old Nick. Everything is overwhelming and frightening, so it makes perfect sense when he has trouble screaming for help. When he’s on a high floor of a hospital and looks down from the window, he’s frightened. When a doctor (or anyone for that matter) tries to talk to him, he speaks through his mom, whispering in her ear.
Another hard reality when you’ve been kidnapped for seven years is that adjusting back to an old life is difficult and this movie portrays that incredibly well. At first, everything seems alright, in fact it just seems like it’s about introducing Jack to new things, but you soon realize what Joy is going through and must acknowledge how much has changed since she’d been gone. It all becomes overwhelming and especially unbearable when an interviewer starts asking her some invasive questions that make her think that she was not a fit mother… which leads her to nearly ending her own life and Jack paying witness to the near-loss of his mother.
It’s around here that turns into one of my favorite moments in the movie. During this time while Joy is in rehab, Jack and Nancy start to bond. It’s only a couple scenes worth, but the way they bounce off of each other, there is a strong connection. This becomes especially… I’m not sure if I have the right word for it, but once Jack says he wants to cut his incredibly long hair (where he believes his strength lies) and send it to his mom so she can be strong, Jack tells Nancy that he loves her. That particular scene barely lasts two minutes, but I’m crying right alongside Nancy. That was a movie moment for me.
I sure feel like the build-up to Joy’s return was a little side-stepped in order to get to the ending faster, but what with the movie done so much right, any mistakes that I find, I honestly don’t really give a shit about.
I love this movie. Maybe I just have a weakness for strongly-written kid characters and family reunion movies, but I think it’d be hard to say this movie is bad… unless you have no soul. I can’t recommend this movie enough.
A must see, 5/5