Room: a Review


I just saw the film “Room” in a near empty theatre on a rainy afternoon all to myself. What an emotional ride! This is not to be confused with “The Room” which, to quote the linked Wikipedia page, has the dubious distinction of being selected by Entertainment Weekly magazine as the “Citizen Kane of bad movies.” This “Room” is a completely different film. I recently enjoyed reading the book it was adapted from. When I learned that the novelist, Emma Donoghue, was writing the screenplay, I was intrigued. When the film started getting good reviews, I knew I had to see it.

Here is where I usually embed a trailer BUT the official ones are full of spoilers. Sigh! Am I a hypocrite? I knew the story before walking in and that didn’t ruin the experience for me. But that is because I view the movie as a way to enhance a really good novel. And it did. So I will keep this post spoiler free for those of you unfamiliar with the novel.



The novel “Room” was inspired by a horrific real life crime and was deftly written from a child’s point of view. The movie is pretty faithful to the novel regarding major plot points. It also manages to capture the child’s point of view surprisingly well. It is a very moving story of a woman, Ma, who has been held captive in a tiny garden shed, the titular Room, for 7 years. We witness the life she has made for herself and her 5 year old son, Jack. This film is dark and tense, yet hopeful with flashes of humour. To say more about the story would risk spoiling it. This is not your typical Hollywood movie. It is grounded in a stark reality; however, I found the conclusion of the film to be very satisfying (as was the novel).

Being familiar with the source material robbed me of some of the suspense that this film delivered. But I didn’t mind. I had a great time when I read the book and wouldn’t trade that away. Brie Larson was stunning in her role as Ma. She played a woman who was in constant conflict as she clung to her sanity for the sake of her child. She had to be incredibly strong and resilient, yet demure when her captor made his nightly visits. She was visibly conflicted as she explained a world of fabricated logic to an inquisitive child. Jack’s only view of the outside world was through a fuzzy TV or a tiny skylight. Jacob Tremblay, as her son Jack, was really convincing as well. The supporting cast included Joan Allen, William H. Macy and Tom McCamus.

Kudos to director Lenny Abrahamsson for crafting a well paced, tense drama and to writer Emma Donoghue who knew just how to take the essence of her story from page to screen. This is not necessarily a feel good movie but it left me with some hope. If the premise intrigues you check it out but skip the trailer for a more satisfying experience.


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