TIFF 2015: “Room” Review: A Flawless Masterpiece

Room TIFF Premiere

ROOM proves there is nothing stronger than the love between a mother and her child.

Based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, ROOM tells the story of a mother (Brie Larson) and her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who have been forced to live in a small room for several years. I could go into more detail but I think the less one knows about ROOM the more powerful it is. What you should know about ROOM, however, is that it is one emotional and scary film. This story, while fiction in the film, has actually happened before and that alone makes this film all the more terrifying.

Brie Larson, whose character is simply known as “Ma” for the first 75% of this film, is spectacular. This is without a doubt a tour de force performance and one that is somehow (I can’t even believe I am typing this) stronger than her role in Short Term 12. If Larson doesn’t get an Oscar Nomination this year, I honestly may boycott the Oscars. That is truly how great I believe her performance in ROOM is. Throughout the 120 minute film, I could consistently see the frustration and heartbreak in Larson’s eyes without her saying a single word. I think almost everyone will be able to see the pain that she is feeling as a mother.

It goes without saying that Larson clearly puts her heart and soul into this role. Her raw emotion reminded me of Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Color. There is nothing about Larson’s performance that feels unrealistic but rather completely real and raw. Larson isn’t holding anything back and has completely transformed into this mother that wants nothing in return but her child’s well being. There is so much emotion coming from Larson and I was able sympathize with her at all times. 

Newcomer Jacob Tremblay could easily be seeing an Oscar nomination this year as well. Jacob’s performance as Jack stands up to Larson’s and is pretty damn incredible. The things that Jack goes through would make anyone who has a child, has a brother or sister, or has just had some connection with a child feel devastated. It’s hard enough as an adult to imagine being locked inside a small space for 7 years but as a child, its unimaginable. Jacob holds his own on-screen and the constant arguing and back and forth between him and Larson felt so genuine. The way Larson and Tremblay bounce off one another feels as if they are related; thats how convincing their chemistry is.

BRIE LARSON AND jACOB in ROOM

Even though I was sitting front row in the huge Princess of Wales Theater, I felt claustrophobic while watching ROOM. It was so uncomfortable sitting there while watching Jack and his mother live in this small room and being unable to step outside to get a breathe of fresh air. Personally, I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be locked in a small space for a few days, let alone 7 years of my life. Lenny Abrahamson‘s direction really embraced this idea and made me really feel what this mother and child I was watching on-screen were feeling.

Directing a film like ROOM would prove to be quite a challenge for a director but Abrahamson holds this film together with just as much love and passion as Larson and Tremblay. It’s obvious that Abrahamson made sure to cast the right actors to tell this story, but in addition, he also had to tell a story with two completely different tones. One of the many things that I heard about ROOM after attending the premiere at TIFF was the tonal shift that occured about halfway through the film.

I won’t give anything away but the first half of ROOM is really different than the second half of ROOM. It is in a lot of ways almost like watching two different films. Personally, I though the first half was just as great as the second half. The events that take place during the film’s second half can be easily summed up as the aftereffects of what occurred during the first half. Abrahamson handled the second half from a very realistic perspective and was just as hard to watch as the first half. It should also be stated that the film’s conclusion is about as perfect as one could ask for. The film’s ending gives you the perfect amount of closure that one would need after going through this emotional rollercoaster for past 120 minutes.

Long story short, ROOM is a masterpiece. Everything about this film is perfection from the performances, to the story, to the direction. ROOM is the perfect example of why I love film and sit through over 100 mediocre films each year. Everyone involved with this film should be proud of what they achieved and know that they created a drama that is scarier than most of the horror films released each year. I am going to be kicking and screaming come award season, if this film doesn’t get the attention it deserves. This is a film that should resonate with most and in my humble opinion should be nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Director.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for ROOM is a 10/10

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