Film Review: The Room

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Jacob Tremblay as Jack.

 

Jack is 5 years old and the Room and his mother are all he has ever known, that and the mysterious man who appears every so often with food. When the man appears the boy is hidden away in the closet and as he waits to fall asleep he counts the grunts coming from the direction of the bed he otherwise shares with is mother.

He has a story for the room and another for the sky, glimpsed through the skylight far above. He has imbued the objects in the room with meaning and understands the blurry figures playing on the TV as some kind of magic that have no tangible relationship to reality. The days bend necessarily from one to the next, filled with playful ideas about the closeted space and the perceived non-space beyond.

Part one of Room is about the meaning we apply to our reality, about the stories we tell ourselves to explain the world and our relationship to it. The child’s story is absolute until his mother offers another explanation for the Room, describing a meaningful world beyond. He is shocked and disbelieving then fearful and uncertain.

The rest of the story is an intense human drama, a story that is told without embellishment, a fly on the wall expose that examines media, love, tragedy, loss and rebirth without sentimentality. This films does not tell us what to feel, it leads the way and offers us an untarnished view from where we can assess our own response. Jacob Tremblay as 5-year old Jack is a revelation and Brie Larson as his ‘Ma’ offers a performance of rare composure. Room was a surprise and a unique and unexpected film adventure.

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