Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
Based on the novel Room by Emma Donoghue
Screenplay by Emma Donoghue
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy, Joan Allen
Room was written by Emma Donoghue, the author of the 2010 novel of the same name. She wrote the screenplay while fielding offers from several production companies. Eventually Donoghue joined with director Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) to revise the script and begin production. Emma Watson, Rooney Mara, Shailene Woodley and Mia Wasikowska were all initially considered for the lead role before Abrahamson was introduced to work done by Brie Larson (The Gambler). She was quickly cast for the role and Jacob Tremblay (Wonder) was chosen to play Jack. The cast also includes Sean Bridgers (Free State of Jones), William H. Macy (The Lincoln Lawyer), and Joan Allen (The Crucible). Room would eventually earn four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.
This is a well-written story about living through trauma and trying to salvage a life afterwards. It’s a rewarding journey that is harrowing at times, and heart-wrenching at others. Donoghue did an excellent job creating a world within the world where Jack and Ma can exist. The early moments work to establish the constraints that they live within, as well as their attempts to create some sense of normalcy. Much of the script’s success comes from the way that Jack understands his world.
The dialogue does a great job letting him express the world as he sees it. It also helps to create a realistic relationship between a mother and a son who have no one else to rely on. Their frustrations and successes are intense at times and very realistic. There are so many strong moments between the flawed and unique characters in this one. No one is safe from the consequences of the ordeal. The story also has some surprising twists and turns that lead to nice payoffs. Some of the smaller arcs aren’t given closure, but it doesn’t harm the overall experience. Emma Donoghue was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for this script.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay formed an incredible bond in preparation for this project. Prior to filming the pair met frequently to build an honest and real relationship. This effort pays off every time they are on the screen together. Much of this comes from Larson’s delivery, which feels genuinely maternal. She expresses the frustrations and joys of motherhood honestly and consistently. She also does a great job delivering on the emotional intensity of her character’s experiences. Tremblay also does a great job with the emotional demands of his role. Brie Larson’s performance earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
This film also features good work from Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy, and Joan Allen. While each of their characters is unique, their performances help to fill in some of the emotional demands of the story. They also create relationships that are honest and fitting in the story. Bridgers does an especially good job with a gritty and dark role in the film. The casting for this film was nicely done, and the actors do a great job elevating the material.
The camera work and production design do a great job in creating the claustrophobic world where we first meet Ma and Jack. To add to the authentic nature of the film, Larson and Tremblay even created the decorations that were used in the room. The film is edited nicely, showing both the quick passage of time, and the tedium of being confined. The sound work is solid as well, and the score by Steven Rennicks (The Little Stranger) adds a nice layer to the film.
This is an impressive movie that tells a moving story. The cast does great work bringing it to life and creating characters that the audience cares about. Fans of the stars should make sure to see this one. I would also suggest this one to fans of thrillers or dramas. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.