Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Review of Room: The Broken Joy and Jack Newsome
There's been movies about women kidnapped by bad men. They always end with the victim rescued, and we think she will recover eventually and live her life.
But what if the kidnapped woman has a tough time recovering from her ordeal, and so does the son who was fathered by the kidnapper?
That's the plot of Room, which, if not for Spotlight, would win Best Picture at the Oscars, in my opinion.(Come to think of it, how come it's not in the Best Picture race in the Spirit Awards?) It is a harrowing tale about a mother and son trying to survive a terrible ordeal, and how recovery could be even more difficult.
When the story begins, we hear Jack (Jacob Trembley) describe his world as a room. He lives there with Joy, his mom (Brie Larson). We soon learn they're being kept there by a guy named Old Nick. In fact, he grabbed Joy seven years before, and it's been the two of them ever since. She even told him the whole world is just their room.
They do come up with a plan to escape, but that doesn't mean it's a happy ending. Joy is having a lot of problems getting back into the real world, while Jack is surprised how much of the world exists outside the room.
Director Larry Abrahamson made a wise move making most of the movie through the point of view of Jack. The movie is his explanation of what his world is. We see him hiding in the closet (called Wardrobe) while Joy is with Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), and seeing it from his eyes. We see him astounded by how big the world really is, and almost forgetting the escape plan. It really makes you appreciate how fantastic Trembley is as Jack. Who cares if he's nine? He should have been in the Supporting Actor race, which was proven when he got a Critics' Choice Award for Best Juvenile.
Then there's Brie Larson. Her Best Actress Oscar is, in the words of Branch Rickey, as inevitable as tomorrow morning. When we first meet Joy, she seems to be resigned to being stuck in Room with Jack. She tries to keep what seems to be a normal life. She has tried to escape, but after seven years she seems to have given up hope. It's when Old Nick complains about not being able to get another job and takes it out on her is when she changes her mind. It's when she is reunited with her parents (Joan Allen and William F. Macy) is when her real problems emerge. She literally goes from one room to another, stuck in her life and wondering how she can move on. She's surprised to learn that even her mom has moved on with a new man in her life. It's very painful seeing her trying to recover, even in a TV interview.
The movie is based on Emma Donoghue's novel in 2010, and some of the people I saw the movie with mentioned that the movie changed a few details,
Still, this movie will leave you a big shaken, but it's a great story about perseverance and recovery.