Friday, October 16, 2015


Film: Room

Starring: Brie Larson (Short Term 12) and Jacob Tremblay

Director: Lenny Abrahamson (Frank)

U.S. Release: October 16th, 2015 (Limited Release - Rated R)

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 118 minutes

It was only two short years ago when I clamored for a budding female talent, Brie Larson, to receive her first Oscar Nomination for a gutsy and daring performance in the under-appreciated 2013 drama, Short Term 12. And despite Larson's unforgivable snub from the Academy that year, I still knew she would continue seeking out deep, personal roles that would eventually land her in the spotlight. Well, it didn't take long as Brie Larson's towering performance in the winner of the Toronto International Film Festival's highly coveted Audience Award, Room, is about to change the landscape of her career.

Larson stars as a young mother held captive in a 10 x 10 shed with her five year old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Having been kidnapped seven years prior and forced into a life as a personal sex slave for her captor, she eventually gives birth to his biological son. This room serves as the only world Jack has ever known, and his mother does her very best to raise him with the hopes of one day being freed from this prison on earth.

Lenny Abrahamson's Room is a riveting drama adapted from Emma Donoghue's international best-selling novel of the same name. A shocking story molded straight from the darkest evils of real life, the film examines the physical and emotional torment of a young mother tasked with putting on a courageous front for her naive child. Room relies on unmatched performances to bring its unimaginable story to life. Leading lady Brie Larson is no longer a star in the making, she's officially arrived. Her confidence to tackle challenging roles such as this one is almost as impressive as the acting showcase she puts on full display. Larson's natural chemistry with her onscreen son and child actor, Jacob Tremblay, is an absolute marvel, Together they form a 1-2 punch that's guaranteed to stand alongside any other casting ensemble this year. These beautifully developed characters allow the audience to join them on their gut-wrenching journey from prisoners to psychologically scarred news headliners. Room draws you in from start to finish with an engrossing and earnest story unlike anything you've ever encountered.

For as impressive as the film is, there are still a few low points that reveal themselves. Filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson leaves some meat on the bone with his direction. While it never becomes a deterrence to the film, there's nothing that stands out from a technical standpoint. Furthermore, Room's second half, which focuses on the mother's difficulty readjusting to the real world and questioning her parental choices, feels slightly rushed for such an integral part of the story. And since the film's running time amounts to an appropriate two-hours, a few alterations to the plot may have improved her unconventionally abrupt mental decline. But despite these apparent weaker aspects of the movie, Room unfolds terrifically and states its case as a legitimate awards season contender.

Some moviegoers venture to movie theaters for fun-filled amusement and simple pleasures. Room is hardly a joy to watch. Instead, the film uses a horrific backdrop to lure the audience into a compelling and realistic story of a mother's unwavering love for her child. Larson's inherent maternal instincts are convincing enough to give her a true shot at Oscar immortality. Room does a superb job of standing tall and separating itself as one of the 2015's finest entries.

Stars: 3 and a half stars out of 4

Grade: A-

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