Room (2015)
November 15, 2015 7:43 AM - Subscribe

A mother and her five-year-old son are confined to a small room. Based on the Booker Prize-nominated novel by Emma Donoghue.

Keith Phipps:

"Abrahamson makes the most of that set-up’s close, claustrophobic quarters, as do Larson and Tremblay in a pair of intense, interlocked performances [...] Tremblay is a natural and Larson plays Ma’s reactions naturally. She has a bottomless amount of love for him but still finds herself frustrated and overwhelmed by his behavior. She’s, in other words, a mother."

NY Times:

"Jack’s unboundedness, the joy he expresses with Ma, the room and their meager possessions — his laughter and delight and kidness — are visceral and pleasurable [...] his presence in the movie has a crystalline purity, and while Jack makes life bearable for Ma, Mr. Tremblay makes the movie bearable for you. His essential child being, his fragility and buoyancy, his shrieks of happiness and complaint, air the room out."

The Verge:

"It’s a ghastly premise that sounds appropriate for a skeezy, low-budget exploitation film, but for Abrahamson (Frank), it’s the jumping off point for something much more powerful. Rather than focusing on the battle of victim and captor, it’s the story of after, of what happens when audiences are usually watching the movie credits roll. An impeccably acted exploration of the bond between mothers and sons — and the devastating long-term effects of violence — Room is upsetting and challenging; a film that is nearly impossible to watch at times. But that grim horror gives way to transcendence, turning one of the darkest movies in recent memory into an awe-inspiring act of beauty."
posted by lunasol (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I started crying during a preview for this.
posted by gregglind at 1:27 PM on November 15, 2015


gregglind, I cried through about half of the movie. Everything from misty-eyed "oh, that's touching" crying to shoving-my-hand-over-mouth-to-not-embarass-myself, ugly crying.
posted by lunasol at 3:52 PM on November 15, 2015


I knew nothing of the book before going to see this, and man was this not the movie I expected.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS WITHIN:
I feel like there's not really much to say other than the first have is probably the most grim piece of film I've seen in a long time, but still manages to maintain a sliver of hope. It's an incredible balancing act that is really just a feat of the acting. The escape is also one of the most tense scenes of the year, but I felt like Old Nick kinda gave up pretty quickly to let Jack go on the sidewalk. And then he just went back home at some point? That was a little unclear to me. Everything beyond that was really well done and presented some interesting aspects of what recovering from that would entail.

My biggest problem was during the interview with the reporter when she asks something like, "Why didn't you set Jack free right when he was born instead of keeping him prisoner with you?" and Joy realizes that she kinda did in a way steal some years from her son but then that idea isn't really revisited at all. Granted, that was probably the heaviest idea in a film full of heaviness, but nothing ever comes anywhere near that thought again. Like, that shit would need some serious attention.

But yeah, overall this is definitely near the top of my list for the year so far.
posted by dogwalker at 7:24 PM on November 17, 2015


Pretty good insight from the director and writer here: 10 Ways the 'Room' Filmmakers Wrote Their Own Script for an Oscar Contender
posted by dogwalker at 11:47 AM on November 21, 2015


crying to shoving-my-hand-over-mouth-to-not-embarass-myself, ugly crying.

I saw this today and, really, not a good movie to watch at the cinema for exactly this reason. I would have preferred to see it at home where I could indulge in unconstrained bawling rather than just sitting quietly biting my lip and letting water leak down my face. For some reason it was the kid seeing the puppy that hit me hardest, but there were plenty of sob-worthy points.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:20 AM on November 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


For some reason it was the kid seeing the puppy that hit me hardest, but there were plenty of sob-worthy points.

Me too! That was such a powerful moment.
posted by lunasol at 11:28 AM on November 29, 2015


Wow, this movie affected me more than any I've seen in the past 2 years, and that's the most I can ask from a movie. Hit me directly in the feels, and my wife was trying not to openly sob. Very strongly recommended.

Coincidentally, same theater where I saw the last movie that made me feel this intensely - Upstream Color - the Nick in Columbia. They got allagash white too.
posted by ftm at 11:32 AM on December 13, 2015


Incredible film. Wasn't sure about it but ten minutes in it had me and didn't let go. The trailer spoils it some, but it's great and you should see it.
posted by Catblack at 11:28 AM on December 26, 2015




This was an emotionally exhausting movie to watch. I didn't even watch it in one sitting... that's how exhausting it was.

The best part was seeing Joy look through her childhood room and yearbook:
MA: We were fast. Best in the district. You know what happened to them?
JACK: No.
MA: Exactly. Nothing. They just lived and nothing happened.

I thought another poignant moment was when we got a glimpse of how traumatizing her captivity was to her sense of self:

MA (to her mother): I’m sorry if I’m not 'nice' enough for you. Maybe if you hadn’t been in my head saying 'be nice' that day I wouldn’t have gone to help him.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 2:23 PM on January 25, 2016


I just got back from the first half of a Best Picture nominee showcase (Bridge of Spies, Room, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Big Short) and I found this one to be the most affecting of the four. I haven't seen the other four nominees yet, but if I got to pick the winner this would be it so far.

My biggest problem was during the interview with the reporter when she asks something like, "Why didn't you set Jack free right when he was born instead of keeping him prisoner with you?" and Joy realizes that she kinda did in a way steal some years from her son but then that idea isn't really revisited at all. Granted, that was probably the heaviest idea in a film full of heaviness, but nothing ever comes anywhere near that thought again. Like, that shit would need some serious attention.

I might have been overeager to connect the two because I expected this question to be revisited again, too, but I felt like there was a pretty direct line between the interview (that question specifically -- she seemed to be hit pretty hard) and Joy's suicide attempt.

At this point it looks not unlikely that Brie Larson will take home the Oscar for Best Actress here. I'm almost a little surprised that Jacob Tremblay wasn't nominated, too -- it was a pretty stellar performance, and there have been nominees near his age before.
posted by jdherg at 11:15 PM on February 20, 2016


I'd read and loved the book, but I still ugly cried throughout. I thought it was a wonderful adaptation. The book is from Jack's POV, so a lot of the issues with Joy are extremely nuanced in the book because Jack is... not an unreliable narrator, just naive/ignorant one, so it was fascinating watching this as a movie to more easily empathize with Joy instead of focusing so much on Jack. Brie Larson's performance was stunning. Her Oscar is very well deserved.
posted by gatorae at 8:29 PM on March 13, 2016


I watched this movie last night and then I had nightmares all last night about the early days of Joy's imprisonment -- either I was watching her or I was her. Ugh.

Having Jack seems to have saved Joy, incredibly. Having him meant she had someone to love, and a purpose. And then of course he was the means of her rescue. I was amazed by how well she did at caring for him and creating a life for him in the shed given how few resources she had. The TV would have helped a lot.
posted by orange swan at 5:02 AM on June 29, 2016


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