Star – Brie Larson
Genre – Drama
Run Time – 120 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Oscars – 1 & 3 nominations
Awards – 103 Wins & 132 Nominations
Amazon – £5.00 DVD £6.98 Blue Ray
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True stories of abductions and disappearances of very young children taken from their family and mothers are always fascinating and disturbing new stories. The parents of Madeline McCann drew polarized public opinion, statistically; white middle-class parents very rarely suffering such a tragedy, cot death and infant abduction almost unheard of in their social class, just as much statistical reason for them to be guilty or not guilty. Because of their social class the media backed off making the accusation they really wanted to. That is not the case with working -class parents who suffer an abducted infant, the tabloid press soon on their back with suggested cynical stories of poor parenting and complicity, the medias cynicism proving correct in the case of with Shannon Mathews. But without a body or the kid found alive you will never know. And when kids are abducted by strangers why don’t they take the chance to escape when they are much older, another accusation of suspicion woven into the media narrative, the kids often taken on trips by their captors and a twisted bonding process of sorts in play, as with Natasha Kampusch, the Austrian girl kidnapped at age 10 for 8 years thereafter in a secret cell. The truth is very young kids know no different and this could be the normal to them after a while, why they are taken when they are young, and the substance to this heavily awarded movie.
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson the film is from the book by the same name by Emma Donoghue, a novel about an imprisoned woman and her child. Brie Larsson, who plays the mom, took the grand slam of awards, from The Oscar through to the Emmys and Golden Globe. The novel is of a feminist bent and so the film expresses that and so this is not a thriller about an abduction and eventual tense release. This is about the bond between mother and child and a woman’s role in the modern world.
Brie Larson ... Ma/Joy
Jacob Tremblay ... Jack
Sean Bridgers ... Old Nick
Matt Gordon ... Doug
Joan Allen ... Nancy
William H. Macy ... Robert
"Ma's" real name is Joy in the film. Room (2015) is one of three movies released in 2015 and nominated for Oscars in which the lead is named Joy. The others are Inside Out (2015) and Joy (2015).
The role of Brie Larson as a woman who suffers from depression, marks the sixth consecutive character with a mental illness to win an Oscar for Best Actress. The previous ones are: ' Natalie Portman ' for Black Swan (2010) a dancer with hallucinations, Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady (2011) the former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher suffers from dementia, Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012) who portraits a girl with neurosis, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine (2013) a socialite who suffers mental breakdowns and Julianne Moore for Still Alice (2014) a college professor who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
Mum (Larson) and son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) are imprisoned in a shed by an unnamed bearded middle aged man (Sean Bridges) who feeds, clothes and ‘maintains’ them. We don’t know how they got their but we pick up their incarceration when Jack is five. This world is the only one Jack has ever known and, being a kid, has crated his own world and set of rules. Devoted mom dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe from the threat of this man, and the constant threat of losing all hope and their sanity, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things moms do like playing games and telling stories. Confined to a 10-by-10-foot space named ‘Room’ for five years is not good for anyone’s wellbeing. Mom has helped Jack create a whole universe for her son within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous situation, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life and educated of sorts. They have a TV and she blends the two to sustain Jacks universe.
But, as Jack gets older, his curiosity about their situation grows and he questions their prison and whats outside. The strain is too much on mum and her resilience reaches breaking point. She has tried to escape before but has no choice but to use her son to enact a risky plan so he can escape and save them as his seventh birthday ticks by, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world. She has lived in that world but Jack hasn’t and everything will be new and alien, literally and physically another planet.
I was expecting a film about mom and son planning their tense escape and the captor to be more prominent in the film and explore his reasons why he would do such a sadistic thing, a bit like 10 Cloverfield Lane. I was hoping we would have a forensic side as the cops and family try to find them. What we got is some sort of feminist metaphor about women’s roles in the world and how children are their everything but also their prison. Nothing wrong with that but if I had known that was the case I probably would have steered clear of this. You know my thoughts on feminism. Because of that I was not overwhelmed by this film in any way and although it had its powerful and emotional moments and you fl for the kid’s innocence early on, the second half was just dull.
Maybe it’s because I’m a man and not a dad that I don’t get this film. The intense bond with mom and son at that age is something I don’t remember but clearly the heart of this movie. I’m guessing the book was better than the film. Cleary a lot of clever women give up good careers to have children and the conflict with not being intellectually nourished from child raring can cause conflicting emotion and so depression, the second half of this movie. Feminist scream at the 18% gender pay gap but it simply doesn’t exist within single men and women doing the same job. But 86% of women polled in work with children consistently say they would give up work if they could spend more time with their kids. In away feminist are more irritating to women than they are men and most women happy for the men to be the breadwinner and care for them the way we seem to have been designed. Having kids is genetic. It’s that equation about a glittering career being more rewarding than a husband and family that’s explored here.
I enjoyed enough or it to recommend it but it is in no way one of the top 150 movies of all time on the IMDB. Broadsheet critics and film festival judges have over reacted to this film as some sort of profound work in my opinion. It has some interesting ideas and sweet as it is harrowing at times but very much a film aimed at women. It’s also discombobulating why the little boy looks and acts like a little girl in the film and is this androgynous casting to make some sort of point and distraction. But the kid who plays Jack is a boy and his long hair explanation is rational that the captor would not let them have any scissors. I’m sure director Lenny Abrahamson is making some sort of point on the so-called third gender here though, in that way we are bought up as a boy or a girl and in this closeted world those labels don’t matter so much.
Brie Larson is good in the lead and Oscar worthy for this testing film and performance. They say she isolated herself in her home for a month without a phone or internet and followed a strict diet in order to get a sense of what Ma and Jack were going through. She became very depressed and would cry all day. I’m not surprised. Now you know what its like watching Nicholas Cage movies.
The first month of the shoot was filmed in a tiny 11ft' x 11ft' set with director Lenny Abrahamson and his crew working entirely within the confines of the limited space. That’s shows on film. In keeping with the claustrophobic theme, walls were never removed in order to facilitate filming, which meant that shooting around the kitchen space, bathtub and other features of the room required lots of creativity and contortion. Abrahamson spent a lot of time in the bathtub onset because that was the one place left to watch the take. The set was doing the ‘method’ here darling.
Imdb.com – 8.2/10.0 (221,345votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 94% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
The New Statesmen – ‘The film's problem... lies in its efforts to convert the story into a metaphor for something larger’.
Little White Lies –‘Room ... is not a thriller, but a moving feminist tract which explores questions of what it means to be a mother, what it means to give love, and what it means to receive it’.
The Guardian –‘This is a disturbing and absorbing film, shrewdly acted, particularly by Larson. It lets the audience in; it does not just let the nightmare stun them into submission’.
The Mail –‘[A] very moving portrait of motherhood, hope and determination, a brilliantly made film about the fight and right to freedom and the beauty of life’.
Japan Times –‘In our webbed-up world of total information, it's something we get to experience less and less of. Make the effort with this one, keep yourself rigorously uninformed... Buy the ticket, take the ride’.