Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay
Lenny Abrahamson, the director of the little-seen Michael-Fassbender-in-a-papier-mâché-head flick Frank, helms this adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel—she also contributed the screenplay—and gifts audiences with one of the most surprisingly emotional and complex films of 2015.
Joy Newsome (Brie Larson) has been held captive for seven years by a man known as Old Nick (the always excellent Sean Bridgers; if you do not know him, check out “Deadwood,” The Woman, “Rectify” or the incredible indie-horror flick Jug Face), and now has a 5-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Knowing they must escape for Jack’s sake, Joy hatches a plan to use Jack to get free. But getting out of “Room,” the only space Jack has ever known, is only the beginning of their struggle.
For years, Larson has struggled to separate herself from the pack of young actresses continually trading “it girl” status. Room finally provides the former “United States of Tara” star with the proper launching pad, and still her award-worthy performance takes a backseat to young Tremblay’s revelatory turn. Via voiceover, the world of Room, both inside and out, is seen through the 5-year-old’s eyes, and the young actor does not back down from the challenge.
The film is simultaneously uplifting and devastating. Like Joy, the viewer focuses on Jack; otherwise, she and the viewer would go crazy from the abject horror of the duo’s situation. As we hit the tail end of the cinematic year, it is unlikely many more films will deliver the same poignant impact as Room.