This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Fish’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The vagueness to the title 'Room', is designed to be open to interpretation. It is a factor that Abrahamson explores to it's fullest, and for me, it is an integral reason for the film's overall success. There is Room, the place the mother and son are held captive for so many years, room for growth, room to love. It is another analysis of the human condition from Abrahamson, and one that works pretty well.
The first portion of the film is learning about Ma and Jack, their living accommodation, and about Old Nick. In a squalid 10 x 10 shed, with a grimy bathroom, useless kitchenette and electricity that is controlled by Old Nick. Ma has lived there 7 years, Jack his entire 5. They live on basic rations that their captor provides every Sunday, unless he deems it extravagant and redundant, like say vitamins, no one who doesn't get any direct sunlight would need vitamins.
It is around here in the film that we encounter the first moments of growth from Jack, with his lessons about the real world, and that Old Nick is an evil man who abducted his Mum when she was only 17, thankfully though, he does not realise why he has to sleep in the cupboard, but knows if he disobeys then his Ma get's hurt pretty bad. Then we have the escape, and let's face it, the first plan she concocts is horribly floored expecting Old Nick to take Jack to hospital, when he clearly didn't take her during child birth.
The second part of the film, in the real world, is just as significant as the first, but it loses it's way massively at times. The learning about the real world for Jack is enjoyable, and there are some key scenes that are endearing, such as the interactions between him and Leo, and especially him running around in the park with Leo and his dog. The latter parts just seemed a little too mundane toward the end, and were less and less interesting. But perhaps Abrahamson was intending this, suggesting that in the end, everybody just gets on with their lives.
The best factor the film had, was a string of incredible performances.The support had some solid almost cameo's from Joy's father, who just cannot accept Jack from the incredible Macy. A sadistic turn from Bridgers as Old Nick, I think Bridgers might start getting type-cast if he isn't careful. And of course, an incredibly emotional performance from Allen, a mother who just wants to see her daughter happy again. But all of these are just accomplices to the main roles. Tremblay puts in an incredible performance of emotion and genuine wonder, and learning through his wide, often fearful eyes is a incredible. Larson shielding him, whilst trying to remain strong, and reinvent herself is one of the best performances I have seen in a long while. The disconnection shown in the real world post-escape is phenomenal. A truly class act.
A film that didn't shy away from it's sensitive subject matter, but at times perhaps didn't delve too deep. But the film was, after all, about the two young people, struggling against a world they have become institutionalised to, and wading through another they are unaccustomed to. It is a film that I marvelled in, but at the same time didn't love. A fantastic emotional experience, Room commands a second watch soon.