“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
Room is an intriguing film centered around an act of pure evil. The brilliant thing about this film and one of the reasons it works so well is that it does not become consumed with the evil act that sets up the entire film. This film could have easily been something else. There have been many revenge films made about an evil act or evil person and the vengeance they receive. These films are popular. They play off our emotions, but Room resists falling into this mold. Instead, it is a film about the triumph of the human spirit.
The film stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay as two captives. Brie Larson brilliantly portrays a young mother who was kidnapped and has now spent years confined to a small room. Jacob Tremblay plays her five-year-old son. He was born in “room” and he knows nothing else. The first part of the film focuses on this horrendous situation and how these two individual are able to keep their sanity. Eventually, Ma and Jack devise a plan to escape. It works, but once they are in the real world, they have a completely different set of issues to face.
The film rests upon the performances of its two main characters. Without the outstanding work of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, this film would not be what it is. Jacob Tremblay is a revelation in what is a breakout role for the young actor. Brie Larson continues her string of impressive work. Lenny Abrahamson knows he something special with these two actors. He uses some of the closest close-ups I remember ever seeing on screen. The viewer is drawn into the emotions and circumstances the actors are portraying on the screen.
As I stated before, the film is not about revenge. Little is said about the perpetrator. He makes a few brief appearances in the film. His heinous acts are implied, but they are never shown (with the exception of one act of violence). Even though audiences love revenge movies, they are highly predictable. Still, this movie is about a battle between evil and innocence. This is more complex and intriguing than the traditional revenge story. One man has created an awful situation, one that is similar to others that have appeared in the news. The evil of the world appears in full force and right in the middle of these terrible circumstances is an innocent child. Evil is powerful, and it seems like an innocent child would have little or no chance, and yet what appears to be weak is actually quite resilient.
Some people may be turned off by Room because of its subject matter. This is understandable, but the film handles a horrific situation in the most tasteful way possible. One reason to watch the film is because of the incredible performances, but I’ve seen incredible performances in films that were not worth watching before. Room is an important film because of its humanity. It explores the relationship between a mother and a child. This is the heart of the movie, and the way it explores childhood is remarkable. Parenting is exceptionally hard when everything is perfect. It becomes more difficult with every obstacle that is presented. No one gets it right. No one does it perfectly. Room presents a set of horrendous circumstances that no parent or child should ever have to experience, but in this worst of the worst situation viewers are reminded of how special our children are. Room will make you want to rush home and hug your child. At least that is how I felt at the end of this incredible film.
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