For seven years Joy (Brie Larson) has been held captive in just one room and for the past five years she has been kept company by her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who has grown up without knowledge of the world outside. Their lives consist of trying to stay fit and healthy within their universe of the small room and watching the flat people on the magic television. At night Jack hides in the wardrobe when their captor pays Joy a visit and on Sundays they are brought treats including essential clothing and tinned fruit.
Room is absolutely heartbreaking. That’s all you really need to know. Repeatedly throughout the film something would happen and I would find myself welling up again and again. Joy and Jack are so brilliantly realised by Larson and Tremblay that everything that happens to them, either good or bad, hit me right in the sleep deprived, emotional part of me. Tremblay gives a surprisingly authentic performance for someone so young and Larson is just so raw you can’t help but feel every emotional beat for yourself.
Emma Donaghue has skillfully adapted her own novel and as director Lenny Abrahamson has sensitively brought it to life. For the most part I was just sitting there crying but when Abrahamson needed to inject tension and jeopardy my heart was beating loudly in my throat. It’s not often I am this emotionally invested in the characters onscreen; so many films at the festival are entertaining but pass by without my head and heart getting involved. Room is not that kind of film. Room drags you through all the emotions and leaves you feeling deeply affected and emotionally drained.
Go see and be sure to take a few boxes of tissues. Expect lots of awards buzz for Larson at the very least*.
Room is in cinemas now.
*Written back in October before she won every award going