Room is the dramatic tale of a mother and son (Joy and Jack), forced to live out their existence in an 11-by-11 square foot space, at the hands of their oppressive captor, known only as old Nick. Told through the eyes of the blissfully unaware Jack, initially seemingly content with his mundane existence (as it’s the only life he’s ever known), the audience is challenged to engage with startling presentations of perception vs reality, as they witness Jack’s struggle to make sense of his world and the conflicting “truths” he is gradually forced to face.
At the onset of the film, viewers are immediately thrust into the thick of the plot, displayed through the monotonous routine the pair are forced to repeat day after day within the repressive confines of their makeshift prison. Audiences will quickly grasp the bleak reality of the pair’s existence, and it’s through the contrast of Jack’s seemingly content innocence, paired against his mothers forced smiles and numb expression, that the film delivers its first dramatic blow.
The reality of how this situation actually came to be is revealed only later, with powerful, concise delivery, when Joy finally decides to explain to Jack: “He stole me” (referring to old Nick) and imprisoned her. Here, she simultaneously shatters the view of the room (previously the accepted limit of Jack’s entire world – a view she helped construct in order to protect his mind) and enlists his help as she formulates an escape plan.
The nature of the escape, masterfully carried out by the audacity of the plan and clearly fuelled by unrestrained desperation, is made all the more telling by a heart-wrenching reunion, boosted by a seemingly underhanded musical score that certainly packs a wallop.
Perhaps where Room truly deserves credit is in its willingness to completely, and intelligently, engage with the aftershock effects that plague both mother and son following their escape. Many a film would have ended the affair, but Room presents a convincing account of the difficulties the pair face when trying to reintegrate back into society. It effectively illustrates the prison they’ve inhabited for the last seven years, shackled in their minds as well as their bodies.
With noteworthy performances from female lead Brie Larson (Joy), and an excellent find in newcomer Jacob Tremblay (Jack), Room is an unforgiving drama of despair, mourning, and rebirth well worth its 118-minute screen time.
Room is released nationwide on 15th January 2016
Watch the trailer for Room here: