If you’re itching to see a masterpiece in film, then go out and watch Room. It’s the perfect example of filmmaking that doesn’t dumb itself down for its audience. And at the same time, it isn’t highbrow or overly complicated.
Room starts out in a padded room with a young boy, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), and his mother, Joy (Brie Larson), lying in a bed together. We’re not sure why they’re there at first. But eventually we figure things out. Joy was abducted 7 years prior and Jack is her son by her captor.
Joy is a normal mother. She loves her son. She get’s annoyed by him from time to time, just as a normal mother would. Everything is not hunky-dory, but the two of them are content there with each other. Or at least Jack is. You can sense, in Joy’s eyes, that she is hiding pain. Jack doesn’t know of anything that’s happened. He knows of no world beyond those walls.
It’s not until about 25 minutes in where we realize what’s going on. But we don’t mind because the journey there is just as riveting. The plot is revealed very slowly, as the filmmakers let us figure things out on our own, and do well not to spell things out for us. They don’t assume the audience is stupid–at least those who are willing to commit to the storytelling. Nothing is ever stated, but we have a grasp on background and character dynamics due to brilliant exposition.
Room is slow, I admit, but consistent. Director, Lenny Abrahamson knows what he’s doing at all times. Besides getting fantastic performances from his leads, I’m thrilled with every choice he makes. From what he includes to what he omits, he understands what’s necessary for us to get as organic of an experience possible. This movie could very well be depressing, but it intentionally never stays in one place long enough to do so.
Larson is something to behold in this film. She’s pretty much gives as flawless of a performance that anyone possibly can. It’s perhaps the best female performance I’ve ever seen. And Tremblay, for a child, is extremely believable the whole way through.
The film is ultimately about moving on. And that process can be long and drawn out and never-ending. There are times while watching this film when we ask ourselves how it will end. Not because we want it to, but because we’re not even sure how any ending would be enough. But then we find out we’re not looking for an ending at all, but a beginning.