I read Room a long time ago, and it was a haunting book. It was written in first-person by the child in the story, Jack, who has just turned five, and it talked about how he and his Ma lived in Room, and how they had always lived in Room. The big-screen adaptation of Room was just as heartwrenching as I expected after reading the book, but it was also very good.
Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his Ma (Brie Larson) live in Room. Ma hasn’t always lived in Room, but she hasn’t told Jack this; once he turns 5, however, she feels he’s old enough to understand so she tells him the story of a 17-year-old Joy Newsome, who believed the story of a man looking for his lost dog, and tried to help. “Old Nick,” as Ma and Jack call him, was that man, and she’s been held captive by him in Room for the past seven years. Ma devises a plan for Jack to escape, by playing dead, and he does, with some complications, and he’s able to give enough info to the police for them to figure out where Ma is, too. The second half of the film is re-acclimation to The World (Joy/Ma) and experiencing The World for the first time (Jack), where everything is new and foreign.
The little boy in this movie was fantastic in his role, as was Brie Larson as Ma. Tremblay was perfect for the role, and with his long (never been cut, presumably) hair and his wide-eyed doe eyes, he is the star of this film. Not to be forgotten, however, is Larson as Ma (or Joy Newsome, in her former life), who loves Jack fiercely, even though his biological father is “Old Nick,” and will do anything to protect him. The supporting cast is rounded out by Ma’s parents, Joan Allen and William H. Macy, as well as Sean Bridgers as Old Nick.
Yes, definitely see this movie, and bring tissues. Larson’s character of Ma gets frequently frustrated with Jack, who likes to scream and pout when he doesn’t get his way, but you can tell she definitely loves him, too; so much so that she hatches the plan for them to escape Room. It’s also up to her to make sure he grows up properly, in Room (really a garden shed in the back of Old Nick’s property), and every day they have reading time, Track (running from side to side), bathtime, and mostly-nutritious meals. In the first half of the movie, unless you’ve read the book, details are doled out slowly, like crumbs; in the second half, once we know more about what’s going on, the locale abruptly changes, and the two of them experience their re-entry into the world. I read the book a while ago so I can’t compare the two, but although the movie was in more of a 3rd person point-of-view overall, we do get some glimpses from Jack’s 1st person POV, which was similar to how he was the narrator in the novel. I’d recommend this film for anyone to see, just be prepared to experience some emotions.
Room is in theaters today, October 30th, and is rated R with a runtime of 118 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.
affiliate links are used in this post