Another film I entered into without any knowledge, Room is about an imprisoned woman Joy (Brie Larson) and her son Jake (Jacob Tremblay), who was born and nurtured in captivity.
The child actor is never cloying, as the film takes good effort to always illustrate his thought process as he grapples with the outside world. So when Jake rejects his mother’s new explanations of the outside world, Jake rejects it as lies, as Room is all he’s ever known. It’s both revealing to the destructive nature of such captivity and it’s heartbreaking for both Jake and his mother. The insight to he psychology of the characters is one of the film’s strengths.
The acting is solid, with Brie Larson turning in another magnificent performance. Other supporting players (William H. Macy, Joan Allen, Tom McCamus) bring great work as well, ratcheting the tension and the heartbreak of the story. Cinematography does wonders to make the Room seem much larger than it actually is, mining the space for its brutalism.
In trying to replicate the source novel’s POV, the film attempts to situate itself in Jake’s point of view. Like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Room uses child narration, though sparingly by comparison. The narration is jarring, attempting to support the film’s POV from Jake’s perspective. The result is feels forced, and the film may better as a cohesive film without it.
Most notable is the notion of captivity within the film. (Spoilers ahead) Once Joy and Jake escape their imprisonment, they remain captive in others ways: to the press, and to their fragile conditions.
In many ways, I’m hesitant to talk about the film, as I wish others went into the film blind as I did. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at TIFF, Room is also a solid winner with me.