Lenny Abrahamson’s Room is based on Emma Donoghue’s novel of the same name. This dark and gripping movie centers around a woman being held captive with her five-year-old son in a single small room for years, and their eventual escape and adaptation to the world above.
By most accounts, the movie stays pretty true to the book, which should come as no surprise due to the author also happened to pen the screenplay for the film. Fans of the celebrated book should take comfort in knowing it was placed in good hands, despite some compromises one often finds when a novel is brought to the screen.
As for the film itself, Room’s first act frustratingly wanes a bit, as Ma (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) bide their time in the 11-by-11 foot shed they are held captive in. The film really takes off when the pair break free and find themselves having to acclimate to this new world – one that Jack has never seen, and one that Ma must learn to accept.
As one might expect, Brie Larson knocks her performance out of the park. Larson – whom I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to more than once on this trip – once again metamorphoses into her character, becoming a woman who has been physically, sexually, and mentally abused for over seven years. Fans of Larson’s work in Short Term 12 will be happy to see her justifying the praise she received at that time (like this, for example). In person, you’d be hard-pressed to find such a down-to-earth celebrity. You get the feeling that she isn’t even aware of how big a star she is, and how much bigger her star is yet to shine.
While I might not be as sold on the movie as others will be, I would still recommend the film, if for nothing else, than the praiseworthy performances of its two stars.