Man, oh man. Room is an incredible film. I loved it from beginning to end. Great performances from all the actors and an amazingly fascinating story about loneliness, togetherness, fear and triumph.
When the film opens, we meet Joy and her five-year-old son Jack who live in a small shed they call Room. Joy has told Jack that this is the only place in the world, and even though they have a TV, those images are not real. Only what is in Room is real. At night, Jack sleeps in Wardrobe, hidden away because that’s when Old Nick comes to visit Joy.
Later in the film we find out that Old Nick kidnapped Joy seven years earlier and Jack is his son. Joy hatches a plan to get them rescued, first by pretending that Jack is sick so Old Nick will take him to the hospital, and when that doesn’t work, by pretending that Jack has died. She rolls Jack up in a large rug and Old Nick takes him away. Jack escapes and the police find Joy and they are reunited with Joy’s parents (played brilliantly by Joan Allen and William H. Macy). The rest of the film deals with the aftermath of the situation.
There are some beautiful moments in the film. One of my favorites is the scene where Joy’s father (William H. Macy) refuses to look at Jack, presumably because he can’t bear to look at the offspring of the man who stole his daughter. Understandable, and Macy pulls it off with his customary subtle brilliance. Another great moment is Joy’s mother’s reaction to Jack’s nonchalant mention of staying in Wardrobe when Old Nick came. Watching Joan Allen realize that her daughter had been raped repeatedly was a moment that will stick with me for a long time. Of course, the performances by Brie Larson (Joy) and Jacob Trembley (Jack) are nothing to sneeze at. Their relationship is one of the most touching I have seen in a film.
I’m struck by the way that this film dealt with these tough issues. Subtle but tense, like thin rice paper. A story of freedom for sure, but also a story of strength, vulnerability, and the power of letting go. A tremendous triumph of a film.