Review: ‘ROOM’ is gut-wrenching and extraordinary.

 
Presents
ROOM_hires_rgbWhat would you do to protect the ones you love? What sacrifices would you make to ensure their health and safety? ROOM pushes our “what if’s” to the brink and asks us to take a leap of faith into this harrowing story of a mother and son.
ROOM tells the extraordinary story of Jack (Jacob Tremblay in a breakout performance), a spirited 5 year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted Ma (Brie Larson, SHORT TERM 12, TRAINWRECK). Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical-they are trapped-confined to a windowless, 10-by-10-foot space, which Ma has euphemistically named “Room.” Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. ROOM also stars three-time Academy Award® nominee Joan Allen and Academy Award® nominee William H. Macy.
 At once a taut narrative of captivity and freedom, an imaginative trip into the wonders of childhood, and a profound portrait of a family’s bonds and fortitude, ROOM is a beautifully transcendent experience based on the award-winning global bestseller by Emma Donoghue. Director Lenny Abrahamson (FRANK) remains faithful to the novel while bringing Jack, Ma and their entirely singular world to heart-pounding and intensely cinematic life. ROOM demonstrates the triumphant power of familial love even in the darkest of circumstances, and is sure to take its place among the most emotionally affecting films to ever explore the bond between parents and children.
ROOM_DAY22-0113_rgbThis film will leave you in tears. There is absolutely no getting around it. Sitting in a small screening room filled with all ages and stages of critics, at various points in the film, people, including myself, were weeping. ROOM takes hold of you and never lets go. It forces you to face your own fears, (albeit, mostly irrational) and think about what you would do if you were in Ma’s position. Should she have tried sooner to get Jack to safety? Was her decision to craft a special world just for Jack the right one? Hopefully, we will never have to answer such questions. I am very glad that Emma Donoghue was able to adapt her own words for the  big screen. In speaking to some audience members that had read the novel, they admitted that the book tore their hearts out. They were amazed at Donahue’s skill in bringing these characters to life and found it to be even more effective on film. Other book fans were so affected by the novel, that they couldn’t even bring themselves to see the film. I encourage them to be brave. It is worth every gut-wrenching moment.  Bravo to Lenny Abrahamson for a gorgeously structured movie. FRANK was a complete gem and he has another total success in ROOM.
ROOM_DAY8-0044_rgbBrie Larson‘s performance as Ma is stunning. Her ability to span emotions in each scene is elegant and engrossing. This is one of the least glamorous roles an actress could receive and yet, Larson is somehow able to show the beauty of her struggle to remain sane in a scenario that is unimaginable. She should not be overlooked come awards season. Joan Allen as Larson’s mother is just lovely. Finding out that you’re a Grandma and having to adjust to the unknown, well, Allen made it look easy. Wiiliam H. Macy, ever the star, has the uncanny ability to make you love him, hate him, and completely understand where he is coming from with a mere glance. Now… let’s talk about our Jack. Jacob Tremblay gives the kind of performance one might expect from a 45 year old Oscar winner. Jacob turned 9 on October 5th. He was 8 when production began in November 2014. Jacob gives one of the most honest and insightful performances I have ever seen from anyone, let alone a child actor. Each moment feels fresh,completely unrehearsed or false. Tremblay has a long and brilliant career ahead of him. I hope, for the sake of wonderful storytelling, he chooses to continue this path. We, as an audience, would be privileged to watch him grow.

Opening October 16th in New York

At Angelika and AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 

The film will expand nationwide on November 6th!!

About Liz Whittemore

Liz grew up in northern Connecticut and was memorizing movie dialogue from Shirley Temple to A Nightmare on Elm Street at a very early age. She will watch just about any film all the way through (no matter how bad) just to prove a point. A loyal New Englander, a lover of Hollywood, and true inhabitant of The Big Apple.

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