Room (2015)

During the duration of the Ultimate 80s Blogathon, it will be my chance to do a lot of 2015 movies catch-up.  Focus will mostly go to Oscar nominated films.  The choices are limited as some are stuck in between home release and theatres.  Still, I’m going to try my best to get to as many as possible.  Moving right along with the Oscar nominations (since I already looked at Bridge of Spies before, Room is nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Picture. Its also filmed in Toronto and the little boy Jacob Tremblay has been on The Ellen Show recently.  I read Room (review HERE) a few years ago in my earlier blogging days so maybe that review is not a fun read.  Still, it is a great book.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Room (2015)

room

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Joan Allen, William H. Macy

After five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery.-IMDB

Room is very good movie.  Its a well done adaptation of the book.  Watching endangered kids always has this somewhat manipulative aspect to it but Room and its cast rearranges (or at least I think of what I remember) the screenplay so that it makes it a little more cinematic.  IMDB’s description is a little skewed.  Room focuses on entrapment in the first half and escape/rehabilitation in the second half, almost through the eyes of a five year old.  During the movie, I was a little shocked that they split the movie almost down in the middle, allocating more time on Ma and Jack recovering and adapting to the real world.  It felt like the source material spent more time building it from Room.  Is that a good choice? Let me tell you that when the credits rolled, I couldn’t help but compare the enjoyment I had of this movie to Gone Girl (also one I loved the novel and was not sure how they’d make it work in a movie).  With that said, the credits listed the author of the book Emma Donoghue also to be responsible for the adapted screenplay and for that, I think is the similarity of what keeps the content true to what the heart of the novel is about.  I’m not one to nitpick on details on expanding or diminishing of the source material.  It honestly doesn’t bother me too much but how they dealt with it held my attention for the movie.  The tension, the urgency, the sacrifice, the fear of adapting, and other feelings were all apparent in this drama.

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One of the best things was giving us a believable story lead by an extremely competent cast. There is no doubt of the exceptional performances of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay playing Ma and Jack respectively.  Their attachment and relationship was depicted beautifully. The part I loved the most was those little monologues where the audience got to get an honest glimpse of what Jack was thinking of from the little world he lived in to his transition into a bigger world.  In a story like this, even being saved is still a struggle to heal for everyone and not just the victims.  Jack has the bigger world and building a connection with others and not just his Ma.  On the other hand, Ma has to get over the years she’s lost and people questioning the decisions she made.  Joan Allen is fantastic as Grandma, especially when contrasted with a much shorter appearance of William H. Macy as Grandpa, who for that short time sent out his feelings perfectly. However, among all the praise, I truly think that Sean Bridgers was casted wrong.  I don’t know who could have done it better or maybe its not even a casting issue but the lack of build-up for the villainous character of Old Nick.  It seemed a little rush and there was really one scene that gave him a more menacing feeling.

Room

Room is a truly eye-opening experience, especially when the movie does a fantastic job of opening and closing it the way it did.  Its an experience of really seeing what two sides of the coin (or the other side of the wall?) is all about. Room may be a prison for Ma because she knows what else is out there but for Jack, its not.  This is his world and he is happy because he has Ma.  That attachment takes time to maintain and it won’t be easily broken.  Does leaving Room behind mean that they are free? The amazement and fear in Jack as he learns to connect with others but still have that unbreakable bond with Ma is a precious one.  In all the hardships they’ve gone through, Room isn’t completely a depressing movie.  Its a thrilling and tense but weaved in with some genuine heartfelt moments that give hope and a different point of view.  Maybe sometimes, the eyes of a five year old can see more because they know less.

Have you seen Room? How did you like the performance of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay?

Book Review: ROOM by Emma Donoghue

I finally decided to end the indecisiveness and start reading Room by Emma Donoghue.

Now I’m contemplating on how I actually felt about this book but lets start by a little synopsis.

roomROOM is the world of 5 year old Jack who only knows his world in Room with his Ma. ROOM is all he has ever known from seeing this place the moment he was born to all the years learning, exercising, playing, reading, eating and sleeping.  TV shows him the imaginary things that are his friends and his favorite being Dora.  At night, Ma shuts him in the wardrobe to sleep when shortly after Door goes beep beep and Old Nick comes to see her.  In the morning, Jack almost always wakes up on the bed sleeping while Ma does what she has to.  To Jack, this is his whole world and he knows nothing more but to Ma, she feels the constant urge and know that their lives are getting more and more unable to be stuck in Room. ROOM is told through the thoughts, feelings and views of little Jack.

I really can’t summarize this without ruining it for others who would like to read it.  I’m guessing from my description you already know that Room isn’t supposed to be a happy story.  Its essentially the story of a woman that lives because of her son while trapped and hidden away from the world years ago.  We watch the struggle and the conflicts and we see it all through the simple mind of Jack as his Ma who once lied about the world outside of Room to not give him hope but being unable to do it anymore.

If I continue on that train of thought, I’ll start telling the whole story.  Room is a pretty emotionally tough story to read.  The first part touched and impacted me a lot more than the second half though.  The tone and pace was different also.  The end of the book had a little interview with the writer herself and she explained that using a little boy’s words would make it easier to read.  I actually disagree because it made it harder.  We fall inside the character of Jack, even if we’re not 5 years old.  The way the little boy speaks and his actions, reactions are familiar but then because we as the audience also know more than he does, its a painful feeling.  We can also see the struggle in his Ma that we don’t understand but at the same time, its like we have a little barrier that doesn’t exactly allow us to see it clearly either.

As I write this out, I believe that the book did achieve what it wanted to.  The story broke my heart but at the same time, it also was hopeful in the second half even if it was a tad bittersweet.  Maybe thats how I can describe it: Its a pretty good but bittersweet and at times, heart breaking read!