There is no greater fear for a parent than the loss of a child to certain horrifying circumstances, such as death or the thought of someone kidnapping their child and doing vile things to them. The plot of director Lenny Abrahamson's 2015 moving film, Room, takes that rather basic premise and extends it into something much more harrowing, but ultimately inspiring. Based on the acclaimed novel by Emma Donoghue, the film will take hold of you emotionally, once you get past the intensity of the story.
It centers on the seventh year of capitivity of Joy (Brie Larson), a woman who had been kidnapped and held prisoner in a shed by a man she calls "Old Nick." Worst of all, she has a five-year-old son named Jack (Jacob Tremblay), whom she had with Old Nick. They are confined in a very small space they call "Room," where they have only access to the basic things of life, but not much else. The first half of the film is Joy and Jack's terrible ordeal as they try to hatch a plan to escape. During this time Joy teaches Jack about the world outside, and what it will bring him if they should eventually escape. In this case, she has a very tough time dealing with their increasingly dangerous situation while trying to take care of Jack. However, the plan they come up with does work in an intense sequence that should keep the audience of the very edge of their seat.
The second half of the film centers on their recovery and trying to readjust to life on the outside, which proves to be quite a challenge at first. Joy is reunited with her now divorced parents, while Jack figures out how to cope with his new surroundings and meeting his grandparents for the first time. Eventually they both come to terms with themselves and their new lives, while becoming closer in the process.
Every second of this film just grabs you and never lets go until the closing credits; it is just a wonderful and poignant movie. Brie Larson's spectacular performance helped her win the Oscar, but the real revelation is the astounding Jacob Tremblay, whose journey throughout the film takes involves the viewer in his plight and eventual freedom. It is a performance of a lifetime and he should have been nominated. Joan Allen and William H. Macy give amazing supporting performances as the grandparents, whose complexity knows no limits. She welcomes Jack with open arms, while he can't quite bring himself to face his new grandson, especially since his father is Old Nick.
Although the film has the basic plot aforementioned in the beginning of this review, it never trends into those pesky cliches that can easily ruin the essence of a film like this. In terms of film adaptations of best-selling novels, this ranks right up there with classics such as To Kill A Mockingbird and The Sweet Hereafter. Those and Room are perfect examples of how novels should be adapted: with respect and skill.
There are only four special features: audio commentary with Abrahamson, cinematographer Danny Cohen, editor Nathan Nugent and production designer Ethan Tobman; Making Room: a short documentary with some decent interviews; 11 X 11: a short featurette that focuses on the meaning of the room where the first half of the film takes place; and Recreating Room: a short piece on the original 10 x 10 room set for the L.A. screening. Lastly, there are a few trailers at the beginning of the disc including those for The End of the Tour, The Spectacular Now, and Amy.
To end this review, I'll tell this much, if you decide to skip this film, you're going to miss out on an excellent film, one that should that stand the test of time with its powerful performances, terrific script, and especially its truthful message of if you find the strength within yourself, you will eventually find your journey to freedom.