Jack (Jacob Tremblay) just celebrated his fifth birthday. Ma (Brie Larson) has done everything she can to make sure his birthday is as much like other 5-year-old’s birthdays. As difficult as it is, Ma tries to make every day of Jack’s life as much like other kid’s live as possible.
Ma and Jack are trapped in a ten foot by ten foot, windowless room. They are not allowed to leave. Despite their situation, Ma does her best to teach Jack and help him get exercise. It is not much of a life, but it is all Jack has ever known.
Now that Jack has turned 5, he is getting more curious. As he starts asking questions, Ma reaches her breaking point. She and Jack must find some way to escape their prison. Once they get out, though, adjusting to life in the real world will be more difficult than they can imagine.
In an age where everything seems to be a reboot or a sequel, it is refreshing to get an original story. Room gives us a glimpse of the nightmare that Ma and Jack are trapped in. Despite their circumstances, and Ma’s inexperience, she is the best mother she can be. She protects Jack as much as possible.
Brie Larson is excellent as the strong-willed, determined mother. She tries to not let her son see that she is broken on the inside. It is no surprise that she has already won awards for her performance, and is nominated for an Oscar. Even more impressive is Jacob Tremblay. Despite only being 9-years-old, he performs like a seasoned professional. His portrayal of Jack captures the innocence and curiosity of a 5-year-old that has had his childhood stolen. He doesn’t come off stiff or coached, as you often see in child actors. Every emotion Jack is experiencing comes through on Jacob’s face. He deservedly won a Critic’s Choice award for this film. I only wish he had been nominated for an Oscar. He is that good.
The supporting cast does well, for the most part. We don’t get much of a chance to understand them, as they are ancillary characters. Sean Bridgers, as Old Nick, their captor, is creepy and frightening. Joan Allen and Tom McCamus, as Ma’s mother and new step-father, don’t know how to deal with Ma and Jack’s return. William H. Macy, as Ma’s father, is mostly wasted in the film, as he is a throw-away character. They never really develop or resolve his relationship with Ma.
The story is intense and heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine being in a similar situation. The scenes with Jack and their captor, Old Nick will have your heart racing. The relationship between Jack and Ma are touching, as they try to protect each other.
Room is more than just a change in pace from what has been filling the theaters lately. It is a well told, well paced story. Most importantly, it is sadly believable. With incredible performances from its leads, Room is definitely worth seeing.