Director Lenny Abrahamson is an award-winning filmmaker (Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, 2007) from Ireland whose latest work is a stunning adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s hit 2010 novel titled simply “Room”. The film is defined by its eponymous location and the amazing performances of Joy (aka Ma) by Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”) and her 5 year old son Jack played by new-comer Jacob Tremblay (a major find).Joy and Jack are held prisoners in a metal soundproof garden shed by a psychopathic control freak known as Old Nick (Sean Bridges) who kidnapped Joy and rapes her at will. Jack is the biological manifestation of theses repeated acts of unprotected coitus.
But what makes the film so poignant are the efforts and unflagging devotion of the mother to protect her child from their dire situation. She plays games with him, cooks and teaches him as much as she can. A world of four walls is made to feel normal to Jack and the directorial choice to show the world from the little boy’s point-of-view is nothing short of brilliant from Abrahamson (“Frank, “Garage”). Whenever sex rears its ugly head we hear the grunting noises but see nothing but a blur across the room. We see and hear what it is like for Jack.
Eventually the imprisonment ends in a dramatic fashion. I won’t explain further for fear of spoiling this unique experience. Joy is finally set free after a long, hard seven year internment. Jack experiences the world beyond the room for the first time. Joy’s parents (William H Macy and Joan Allen) add another dimension to this idiosyncratic tale.
This film is the ultimate expression of a mother’s love for her child and it works on every level imaginable. It is one of the years’s best movies and is a must-see.
**** OUT OF 4