Most of us go to movies simply to be entertained, not that there’s anything wrong with that… Some of us go to movies for the emotional experience. Occasionally, a movie delivers both: entertainment with an unexpected emotional catharsis. Such is the case with Room, based on the novel by Emma Donoghue and directed by Lenny Abrahamson.
When she was 17 years old, “Ma” (Brie Larson) was abducted and held captive in the back yard shed of a man called “Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers). When the movie opens, her son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is turning five and has known nothing of life outside the space they call “room.” Ma decides he is old enough to know the truth and tells him there is an entire world beyond the skylight that is not imaginary.
This information is hard for him to accept, but she’s preparing him to escape. It’s a plan that puts him at great risk, but may actually be a greater sacrifice for her. Can you imagine? Can you imagine spending your entire life in an enclosed space, then learning that everything you know is a lie? Can you imagine being the parent who’s had to patiently wait years for this moment?
You don’t have to imagine too hard because the actors are so good. Larson is getting all the press, but I’m telling you, Tremblay is amazing. During the moments of his escape, I literally could not breathe because I was so involved in the situation and invested in the outcome. I can’t remember a more terrifying and suspenseful scene in a recent movie.
You might think this was the climax of the movie, but it happens only about a third of the way in. It’s strictly drama from there on out, but as engrossing as can be. It’s not easy for mother or son to be back in the real world. Every emotional twist and turn is heartbreaking, for the characters and for the audience. By the time it ended, I was bawling like a baby.
Sounds fun, huh? Why would you want to see a movie like this? It’s because it’s ultimately about survival and the remarkable fortitude of human nature. I fear I’m being trite the more I praise Room, so I’m going to keep it short. This was my experience with the movie, though, and I guarantee you will have an experience, whether it’s the same as mine or different. You won’t simply enjoy Room, you’ll experience it.