Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Room


Synopsis: Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is an upstanding guy in sunny San Francisco with a great job and a beautiful lady named Lisa (Jullette Danielle). But Lisa, who has grown bored with Johnny, seduces his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero) and…

Hold on… oh… oops…

Sorry, I seem to have mistaken the recent movie I saw with an infamous cult classic with a similar name. I’ve had to clarify which of the two films I mean to the friends I talk to this film about, so this mistake was bound to happen. Right, onto my real review.

Real Synopsis: To young, five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay), all there is to the world is the inside of a small shed called Room. That’s because his mother Joy (Brie Larson) was kidnapped seven years prior by a man she calls Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), who kept her locked in Room with no outside exposure and forced himself on her nightly, eventually resulting in Jack’s conception. Circumstances force Joy to enact a plan with Jack that eventually gets them found by the authorities and Jack has his horizons quite literally broadened as he sees the outside world for the first time, even moving in with his grandparents*. But that’s just the beginning of the struggle as Joy and Jack find they have quite a bit of trouble adjusting to life out of captivity.

*The grandparents are tricky to explain in a sentence. See, Nancy and Robert (Joan Allen and William H. Macy) are Joy’s birth parents, but they divorced in the wake of Joy’s abduction. Now, Robert lives across the country and Nancy lives with Leo (Tom McCamus), her husband/partner/security blanket. Leo and Nancy are who the two live with for the majority of their on screen freedom, but Robert is not to be discounted.

Review: Room is, in a word, spectacular and a lot of it comes from the narrative we’re given. For everything that happens in the movie, we the audience are experiencing it through Jack’s perspective and the movie is stronger for it. At no point does Jack leave the scenes we’re presented with, allowing us to feel what he does with overwhelming immersion. It’s especially effective when we see things from his perspective and get a real sense of his sensory overload and discomfort. When he sees the outside world for the first time, it actually feels like we are too.

The perspective game also happens to be very effective at presenting things as a child would see them, but still allowing adult minds to read the subtext and fill in the blanks. When the grandparents mention that they got divorced after Joy’s abduction, you can definitely pick up on the darker subtext behind the split up. When Robert can’t even bring himself to look at Jack, he doesn’t give a reason but he may as well be shouting it to the audience. Even Old Nick’s status as her rapist isn’t spelled out (his role as kidnapper is, but only because Joy is trying to make Jack understand) and the act itself takes place while Jack is hiding in the wardrobe and looking away.

It was the best move the filmmakers could have made: making it from an innocent child’s perspective, but allowing us to see the big picture through our own eyes.

It’s difficult to get across just how brilliant this movie is in words alone, because there’s so much that you simply need to see. I assure you that you will not be bored. The acting will keep you enrapt, especially that of Jacob Tremblay who would have sunk this movie if he had turned out to be another Jake Lloyd. Brie Larson also deserves mention for selling the scenes of her trauma rearing its head so well, I found myself having Babadook flashbacks. In fact, that’s another thing this film gets right; any other movie would have made the whole thing about trying to escape the room and ended happily ever after when they were reunited with their family. But life’s not that clean. How do you go back to your normal life after you’ve lived in a cage for so long with nothing from the outside but what your keeper brings in?

The whole ordeal reminded me of Gone Girl, both in its execution and the fact that the screenplay was expertly written by the author of the original book. (Oh, and as a side note, both Gone Girl and Room were written by women, so feel free to bring them up when someone says that things headed by women don’t sell.) Emma Donoghue knew exactly what to keep and what to change to make it work on the silver screen. A good thing too, because I think our lives would be poorer had Room never come to theaters. Amidst the depression and desolation, there’s hope and tenderness to be found, showing that even at our worst, there’s still something to hold onto and fight for. Give it a watch and see why you should never stop pushing forward.

Fun Tidbit: To prep herself for the role, Brie Larson consulted both a trauma expert and a nutritionist in order to portray the malnourished, mentally broken Joy with the utmost accuracy.

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