“Room” is the kind of horror that exists in an era where reality overwhelms our fiction. Whether it’s the three young women in Cleveland, the young woman kept captive in Central California or the Elizabeth Smart case; “Room” feels too real. So, what can a discerning audience do with a film that could pass for a true crime case? You slow down and learn to appreciate the central relationship of the film.
Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as Jack work together in complete symbiosis. Having spent the last six or so years in captivity, Ma feels guilty for being a victim and not giving her son a sense of the world. She lies and tries to create a reality that’s easy for her son to understand. But, she knows that he will have to hide in a cupboard nightly as she’s raped by her captor. When Jack’s recent birthday sparks Ma’s desire to break free, we see the kind of desperation that comes when people have no resources and a desire to break free.
A few readers have made known their displeasure that about 40% of the film is spent dealing with the duo’s time outside of captivity. Honestly, I feel that’s the only way it could go. When the mother and son break free, they have to deal with a world that moved on. Ma’s parents don’t know how to treat their new grandson or handle what happened to their daughter. Ma is pressured by every outside source that she used Jack as company in captivity rather than working to free him. Every move or thought is studied by an outside world that could never understand what Ma and Jack experienced.
All the while, Jack is trying to understand telephones and pets. Forcing terrified individuals into alien environments that won’t adapt to them is such an amazing concept. The terror that arises from lack of control and the need to find definition produces drama in the most primal sense. In a slightly weaker field, I’d hope that Brie Larson would be readying her Oscar acceptance speech. But, she has competition.
As I watch Larson and Tremblay feed off each other, I’m floored by how 2015 ended on such a high quality note for acting. So many fresh faces getting the chance to show off their abilities and finally getting noticed by the mainstream. I will continue watching this film in the future, as the young cast ages past this beautiful moment in time. “Room” is a golden rarity that belongs among the top echelon of 2015.
RELEASE DATE: 11/25/2015