Room for pain, Room for hope

Between winter break and Martin Luther King weekend, I saw a couple films, all of which are now Oscar nominees . Brooklyn I saw with a friend, The Big Short with my parents, The Revenant with friends, Spotlight and Room by myself. Except for The Revenant, I was extremely pleased with the films and really glad they were nominated for an Oscar. I plan on reviewing them by the 28th (Oscar night), so I’ll begin with Room.

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writers: Emma Donoghue (screenplay), Emma Donoghue (based on the novel by)
Stars: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers

A young boy and his mother are living in a “room.” There is Chair and Skylight and Bed. There is a steel door with a lock and the world on the other side. One day, they escape their captivity and what follows is a tumultuous journey of adjustment and reconciliation. The film is split in to two parts- the before (the room ) and the after (the outside world). It is made clear early on that they get out, so it is not exactly a spoiler. Already, the opening shot was eye catching and interesting. And the rest of the cinematography didn’t disappoint. The use of abstract angles and close shots was the perfect way to film a story through the eyes of a little boy. The scenes in the room were shot creatively; the frame was tight on its subjects and showed only parts of the room at a time. The use of these techniques really brought out the claustrophobic feeling of the characters trapped in such a small space, and yet, for the purpose of the boy’s POV, made the room seem bigger than it actually was. As kids, we would see everything bigger and more incredible than things actually were. Showing the actual size of room in its entirety would fail to effectively show that. There’s no outside for Jack, just Room. The second half, is shot just as well, with conveying the daunting and overwhelming elements of the world, which Jack is not used to.

There was not a lack of incredible acting, either. Brie Larson clearly will become one of the greatest actresses of her time. She blew me away with the depth and soul of her performance. There was no trace of Brie Larson in her portrayal of Joy; she completely dissolved into the role and- I’m not exaggerating when I say this- she was absolutely flawless. Jacob Tremblay is a genius actor; notice how I say actor and not kid actor? yea he qualifies as an actor who just happens to be young. He delivered such a beautiful performance and carried himself with such maturity; it was absolutely incredible and he seriously deserved to be nominated for an Oscar.

The writing was incredible as well and there wasn’t any superfluous dialogue or extra sentimentality that didn’t need to be there. It was real and honest and no use of cheap tricks to get the audience to feel something for the characters. The power of the film, the raw emotion, came from its story and the acting. I think, with this kind of story, there are many places where the director could go wrong; turning it into your average thriller with over dramatic plot lines and tactics. Instead, Abrahamson has created a unique and realistic masterpiece. The subject material itself is dark and can be hard to watch at times, but the film tells it like it is and conveys a message of hope during the depressing situation of the characters. I felt many emotions throughout it; I was sad, happy, inspired, angry, hopeful, and emotionally wrecked by the end. I cried so many times, and when the screen went black, I sat in the theater for a while, completely speechless. There were two things I wanted to do at that moment- give my mom a big hug and never say anything bad about my life again. For the rest of the night, I was in a stupor and while its been 3 or so weeks and I am done crying now, there’s no way I can ever forget what I experienced and the effect the film had on me. I highly highly recommend this to anyone and everyone. Would I watch it again? Yes, but not for a while.

****1/2 out of *****

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