A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Lenny Abrahamson
Written By: Emma Donoghue (Novel & Screenplay)
Produced By: Ed Guiney, David Gross
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen
Running Time: 117 Minutes
It’s not often that a film can affect someone the way Room does.
Overwhelmingly heartbreaking, soul-crushing and devastating, Lenny Abrahamson’s latest outing has not only adapted one of the most original narrative concepts sensationally well, but has faultlessly captured the gut-wrenching innocence of a child.
It’s a true credit to Abrahamson and the cinematic approach to Room that certain temptations to exaggerate and milk the emotional power for all its worth were seemingly overlooked. Room (with the integral assistance of author/screenwriter Emma Donoghue) allows for subtlety and curiosity to serve as the primary driving forces, which play enormous parts in expressing the raw, riveting essence of the story and subject matter.
Room blurs the line between real life and fantasy, depicting the unspeakable horrors of the situation as a heartrending fairytale. This is achieved entirely through perspective. The mind of a child is precious and fragile, so watching the usually heartwarming ingenuousness and curiosity of five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) play out in this particular circumstance packs a brutally flattening punch.
What is so powerful about Room’s concept and execution is the fact that we see a loving mother raise a child who believes the universe consists of nothing more than a solitary room. Referring to everyday items within ‘Room’ (the name of Jack’s universe) as proper nouns furthers the emotional draw of the situation.
It’s the deprivation of a chance to experience a normal life that is so crushingly tragic, and the way in which Abrahamson and Donoghue construct this is masterfully achieved.
For a film such as Room, perspective is key, so when the audience go inside the mind of a child, it’s no surprise that a sense of trepidation can ensue.
Child acting is a risk for many filmmakers, with performances more often than not appearing unprofessional and forced. Every so often however, a performance emerges where one is simply left in shock.
Young Jacob Tremblay’s performance is not only the best performance of a child actor since the turn of the century, it’s one of the best of the last few years in any category.
A tale of sacrifice, devotion, desperation and, above all, love, Room is a terrifically powerful picture about the maternal loyalty for a child, no matter the circumstances.
The audience’s understanding of an outside world, an outside life, an outside universe is what generates the majority of the sympathetic emotion within the story, with young Jack’s curiosity at the forefront. However at the very core of the overall story is something truly magical.
It’s magical in the sense that the story, whilst confined mostly to nothing larger than the four-walled room, addresses several issues of such enormous magnitude and permeates them throughout the film in an affectingly despondent manner.
With each new scene and every revealed aspect of their existence and with each excruciating honest line of dialogue spoken by Jack, it becomes increasingly clear that those at the helm understand exactly how and when to unfold a narrative to its full potential, with the odd exception that is.
Whilst the direction and unfolding of plot is solid and meticulously observed, there seems to be a sprinkling of convenience that allows certain crucial moments to unfold. Only when reflecting about the film in all its glory does one pick up on the minuscule details, however when they’re as pivotal to the plot as these are, disbelief sadly cannot be suspended.
Thankfully, those moments are very few and far between, presenting themselves as minor gripes in an otherwise, totally immersive experience.
With a soundtrack that captures every fibre of the narrative in a glistening but melancholic manner, the sound of Room is one of true resonation and mastery.
A particular sequence is amplified and immeasurably enriched by the accompanying score – you’ll know it when you see it.
Chills down the spine, pure fixation to the screen and gushing tears will undoubtedly ensue; it’s a powerful piece of cinema.
If 2014’s Frank wasn’t enough to stump you with it’s outrageous wackiness and energy, Abrahamson’s follow up will flatten you in a completely different way.
Showcasing a director who prides them self on the craft of a story, connection to characters and emotional resonance in all shapes and sizes, Room is a prime example of the richness of cinema and its power of storytelling.
A definitive child performance from Tremblay will solidify him as a prolific young talent with a flourishing future ahead of him, while Larson delivers her best performance to date, offering an transcendent depiction of struggle, vulnerability, fear and love, sometimes simultaneously.
A touching tale of love and impenetrable devotion, Room is a mighty achievement in filmmaking that is able to engross it’s audience and hold them captive well after it concludes.