Saddest movie you will see this year. And I’m not talking tear-and-tissue sad, I’m talking bury-a-hole-and-crawl-into-it sad. Beyond words, but let’s give it a try.
Joy Newsome (Brie Larson) was kidnapped when she was seventeen years old and locked up in a shed, left completely at the mercy of her kidnapper. Two years later she bears a son, called Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Not being able to leave ‘Room’, as she calls it from then on, Joy decides to raise him in that tiny enclosed space, as if it were the only place in the world. This is the devastating story of a mother and her son; who, for five years, literally only have each other. And how they’re able to continue their lives after that.
I can’t even make a joke about this. This might very well be one of the most uncomfortable movies I have ever seen. Especially during the first half; I was constantly cringing and my heart was racing. Which is weird because there is nothing explicit to cringe at, nor is there a lot of suspense to get nervous about. Everything about this film excels at telling a story, but without showing it. It’s something you have to see for yourself because however difficult it is to watch, it is also extremely compelling. The way Jack narrates their lives as a story, talks about items in Room as persons, and how they spend their time everyday. But especially how Joy creates a world, within a room, for Jack to grow up in; out of reach for ‘Old Nick’, as they call him.
There is this one scene where all you see is five-year-old Jack, hidden in the wardrobe, listening to the creaking of the bed and just counting. But you know what is happening and the filmmakers even make it look like it’s an everyday routine. It’s Room’s strongest feat, an uneasiness that creeps in and stays for the rest of the film.
Of course all of this would amount to nothing without a stellar cast.
Brie Larson as Joy Newsome is nothing short of excellent; in between her boundless love and dedication towards Jack, she shows a constant air of frustration, dread and desperation. The film’s creators are brutally honest about this too; she’s not a saint, she’s a mom.
The real revelation however was Jacob Tremblay as Jack. Working with child actors is never easy and that goes double for a role like this, but this kid gets it. You don’t just feel sorry for him, you feel with him. To the point that Tremblay’s character almost feels familiar. Which might sound effed up, considering the situation, but everyone has their ‘Room’.
Seemingly effortless, Room will touch you and Room will hurt you. Director Lenny Abrahamson made a brilliant piece of cinema that is not easy to watch and even harder to forget.
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Stars: Brie Larson (‘Best Actress’ Oscar) , Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen
Duration: 118 minutes
How to watch? -surrounded by your loved ones, on any screen