REVIEW: ‘Room’

 With the 88th Academy Awards just around the corner, director Lenny Abrahamson’s Room looks to be the frontrunner in a number of categories. This hasn’t come as a surprise to many, considering just how engaging it is.

Translating Irish author, Emma Donoghue’s, best-selling book onto the big screen was always going to be a tough job to undertake, however, Lenny Abrahamson succeeds in adapting the acclaimed novel for the big screen.

Viewers are met with Joy (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) from the opening of the movie. Joy is abducted by a rapist at the age of 19 and gives birth to Jack two years later who is fathered by the man that abducted her. Their abductor is kept largely in the shadows for the most part of the movie so the story belongs only to Joy and Jack. Joy dedicates herself to looking after her spirited 5-year-old son and attempting to make his life as normal and fulfilling as possible, despite their situation being anything but normal.

Based loosely on the Josef Fritzl case, Room is told from the child’s perspective. Jack and his ‘Ma’ are held captive in a shed which they name ‘Room’. Jack believes that ‘room’ is the entire universe with nothing or no one existing outside the four walls enclosing them. However, as Jack grows up his curiosity also grows and his ‘Ma’ decides to risk everything to come up with a hazardous escape plan and a chance for freedom for both of them.

Although the subject matter is undoubtedly grim, and with criticism suggesting the film is not as powerful as the bestselling book, it deals with the ideas of human love and survival through compelling and emotive performances on all parts. The gripping suspense involved in their plan to escape, and the pure beauty of the mother-son relationship makes the film the masterpiece that it is.

Critics are calling it a tense, emotional and astonishing drama. Room is nominated for an array of awards including Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role and Best Director. With so many excellently illustrated movies up for awards at this year’s Oscars, it will be interesting to see if our Irish hopeful will take the top spot on February 28th.

 

Coleen Brady

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