Locked in a “Room”
By Skip Sheffield
Claustrophobic? Be wary of “Room,” for much of it is set in a windowless 10-by-10-foot shed. The only portal to the outside world is an overhead skylight.
This room constitutes the entire world for 5-year-old Jack (Jason Tremblay) whose mother (Brie Larson), known as Ma, has been locked in the shed for seven years by a character known only as Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). The creepy story has been adopted for the screen by Emma Donoghue, who wrote the acclaimed novel on which it is based. Old Nick visits sporadically with food and presumably sleeps with Ma while Jack is locked away in a wardrobe. Despite their confined existence, Ma does her best to entertain, educate, feed and clean Jack. Jack on the other hand has no clue there is more to life than the room.
Irish director Lenny Abrahamson maintains a delicate balance between horror and hope when the story switches gears with a daring escape engineered by Ma. You might think happy ending, but Ma is clearly affected by post-traumatic stress syndrome, and her parents (Joan Allen and William Macy) don’t quite understand.
As amazing as Brie Larson is in her role of a wounded mama lioness, Jason Tremblay is a wonder as Jack, who is pretty as a girl with his shoulder-length hair that he does not want cut, and has amazing depths of emotion and expression. I suspect both Ma and Jack will be remembered at Oscar nomination time. “Room” is that extraordinary.