Movie Review: Room (2015)

Posted: March 6, 2016 in Drama
Tags: ,

Room movie

Ma (Brie Larson) and her five-year old son Jack (Jacob Trembley) have been trapped in a room in a shed for seven years, by their abductor who Ma calls Old Nick. (Sean Bridgers) Ma attempts to break out of the room, by saying Jack is sick, but Old Nick simply gets Jack medicine.  Ma tries again to get Jack out of the room, by claiming Jack is dead.  Does Old Nick react differently to this ruse?  Does Jack get out of the room?  Does Jack get help for Ma?

I read both the book Room and now have watched the movie.  Here’s what the movie did better than the book.  It conveys the sense of fear and dread of being abducted well, it does it visually, and it does it by cutting back on Jack’s narration, which seems to blunt the trauma of being kidnapped, weather it intends to or not.  The movie also doesn’t dwell on the breastfeeding as much as the book did, and that was a plus for me. Both the book and the movie fall off considerably in terms of interest, and the book and the movie never answer what for me is how does it feel for Ma to be abducted and raped by her abductor, and forced to carry and raise that child?  The movie addresses the question briefly, but not directly and completely. And more troubling is the suggestion that women should carry the child of their rapists, it is unconscionable that a movie in 2016 would even suggest that.  The movie ends much too sweetly for the trauma that comes before. Both the screenplay and the book were written by Emma Donoghue.

The acting is good.  The question is, did Brie Larson deserve the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in Room?  I would say no, her performance as Ma seemed exceedingly shrill to me, but Hollywood seems to enjoy the victimization of women, so it seems natural that the Oscar voters would fall hook, line, and sinker for her performance. I preferred Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs.  She played someone on an equal footing with Jobs, I prefer to see strong female roles. Jacob Trembley was good at playing a spoiled, petulant child.  But the best performance by far was by Joan Allen as Jack’s grandmother, she really gave a well-balanced, steady handed performance.

Lenny Abrahamson is an Irish director, he put some annoying quick zoom shots in the film, other than that, the film I not visually arresting.  He gets good performances from the actors, but the pacing does slow substantially in the second half of the film, and that’s part of the problem with the film.

Room:  Room without a view.

Here’s my review of the book:


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