By Jennifer Johnson
Welcome to Room, where Lamp, Plant, Chair #1, and more reside. You can’t get out, but one man can get in, and when he does, we sleep in Wardrobe and stay really quiet.
Room (2015) is an inside peek at the internal and external struggle we go through when we are taken against our will. The story takes place in Room, a 10 x 10 square space, where Ma (Academy Award winner Brie Larson), and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) reside after Ma’s kidnapping seven years before by Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). The audience is taken through the daily routines — all from the perspective of five-year-old Jack, who has never seen the real world – only the TV world. But the good news is, they have a plan to escape, and Jack will finally have a chance to see trees, and birds, and most importantly, people.
Director Lenny Abrahamson captures the array of moods perfectly, with pan shots when the mood is dreary, leading up to their only realization of the outside world – the skylight. And a whirlwind of motion capitalizes on the endless amount of trapped energy that Jack has, showcasing his inability to frolic freely, confined by the tight walls of Room. From super-high angles and close-ups, we see the internal battle of whether this world Ma speaks of on the outside is really true, and cats and dogs actually do exist.
This unspeakably terrifying situation is captivating and full of strife and struggle, with Larson’s performance undeniably worthy of the Academy Award she received for Best Actress. Her range of emotions as a mother and a victim is uncanny, completely capturing the essence of what it is like to have been captured and then released, and to be a mother without ever having been prepared as one.
Room is a story about hope and resilience, and seeing the outside world for more than just a place we live, but an amazing spectacle with cats, and dogs, and trees, and hammocks, and Grandma, and Grandpa.