I had already heard of this film before I’d even seen a trailer as actress Brie Larson was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress at this years Oscars. When I did eventually see the trailer, I hadn’t even seen the film yet but I could understand and see just from her performance shown in the trailer why she was nominated in the first place. When Brie Larson did win the Best Actress award earlier this year at the Academy Awards, everybody couldn’t help but talk about the film Room and her amazing performance in it. Now that I’ve finally had the chance to see the film, I can honestly say that this film deserves all of the critical acclaim it has received, the hype and most importantly that actress Brie Larson did truly deserve her Oscar win.
Before you read on, there may be some spoilers ahead but with this film it’s hard not to talk about it without mentioning certain scenes. I should mention that this film is not for the faint of heart as the subject matters touched upon in this film could affect you psychologically.
The film begins with the voice over of a young boy who is five year old Jack, the viewer is informed right away that this will be Jack’s story. He wakes up and begins to say good morning to things around him in the room including the wardrobe. If you hadn’t seen the trailer or knew anything about this film or read the book, you might think this is either odd or it’s just the curious mind of a young child. But then again most children would greet their toys, their imaginary friends, their pets etc but rarely inanimate objects such as the wardrobe, the sink, the chairs etc.
Jack says that before he came along his mum used to watch TV until she was a zombie and cry herself to sleep. This little bit of information makes the viewer realise that before Jack came his mum was very unhappy and possibly in a dark place in her mind where being either unconscious or feeling numb was the only way to keep going.
However it’s the birthdays scene that really struck a cord with me and made me realise how we take simple things such as birthday candles for granted and its hidden meaning. In the scene it’s Jack’s fifth birthday and to celebrate him and his mum bake a cake. Jack wants a birthday cake with a candle and his mum says there are no candles for the cake and she can only ask for stuff that they really need. From this scene alone the viewer finds out what their situation really is, they are trapped in a room and everything they have has been given to them out of necessity. For Jack he wants to celebrate his birthday with a real birthday cake and it can’t be a real birthday cake if it doesn’t have candles but for his mum she’s trying to survive through this situation with her son and she doesn’t want to ask for non essentials probably out of fear for her and her child’s safety.
The music is hauntingly beautiful and it portrays their innocence in the terrible situation that they are currently in. When they spend some of their days screaming at the only source of natural light in the room, the skylight, or through the vent and they say nobody can hear them yet, you then realize that they room they are in is soundproof. It’s a horrible situation to be in, to be stuck in a place where no one can hear your cries for help, your cries of fear and helplessness, your cries of depression, desperation and loneliness. This scene captured all those feelings really well.
The space and size of the room they are trapped in appears smaller when Jack asks for a real dog and his mum says there is no space for a dog especially with its barking and scratching. It’s beginning to sound like they are in a jail cell but worse as they don’t have interactions with other human beings apart from their captor, who they and the viewer only know as old Nick. However if it weren’t for the skylight that provides them with the ability to see the sky then I’d fear they would have lost some of their sanity. The skylight became a symbol of hope and freedom, their window and connection to the outside and the real world.
We find out the lengths that Joy, the mum, goes to in order to protect her child from old Nick, each time he came into the room Jack would be in the closet either sleeping or pretending to be asleep. She doesn’t want old Nick to ever touch him and for any mother the need for to protect your child is the strongest bond out there. In fact old Nick may have never seen Jack properly but knows he exists as he asks Joy do you keep him in the closet during the whole day and night, do you think I’m some sort of two headed monster? This line sends shivers down by spine because he is a monster and she wants to protect her son from this monster. Although the scary thing is that her son doesn’t necessarily see him as a monster but possibly a friend when he asks why she didn’t tell old Nick it was his birthday as he would have gotten him a present and she tells him because he’s not our friend.
Jack only ever sees the outside world from what he sees on TV, even though he can see the sky from the skylight he can never see the trees, cars, other people etc. He even thinks old Nick gets their food from the TV by magic. It’s harrowing to hear how affected this child has been by being sheltered from the real world from birth. Now that he’s five he keeps asking his mum questions about the real world such as where all the stuff she told him was such as the trees and dogs. It’s during this conversion that we find out what really happened to Joy, she tells Jack that old Nick tricked her into helping his sick dog, he stole her and locked her up in his garden shed. She admits to her son that she has been trapped in the shed for the past 7 years, this revelation confirms the horrifying truth about Jack’s biological father. Now it’s all about finding a way to free her and her son from this room.
Now I won’t say what happens next but the next chapters of this film is about the lengths a mum will go to in order to free and save her child. The real journey though is how you live, what do you do, how do you cope in the real world once you’ve manged to escape your prison?
This is one of the best films I’ve seen this year and I highly recommend you watch this film, yes it may be depressing at times but it’s really a film about the journey of hope and freedom. It reminds us all of how we take for granted our surroundings, our family, our friends, what we have. It reminds us how seeing simple things such as real trees, pancakes, birds, windows, cars, people with different face etc give us a real sense of connection, something real to touch and the joy it brings us. The film ends with a full circle just like the circle of life with Jack saying goodbye to the plant, the chairs, the table, the sink, the wardrobe in the room, just like the beginning of the film when he greets these inanimate objects good morning. He ends the film in a way that reminds us that bad things can happen but we find ways to say goodbye to be able to move on with the next chapter of our lives.
Lastly Jacob Tremblay is amazing as Jack, this young actor will grow up to be one of the most talented actors of our time, he and Brie Larson have amazing chemistry in the film and their talents shine through brilliantly in this film.
The Room will be released by STUDIOCANAL in the UK on Monday 9th May 2016.