2015 was an amazing year for movies. With huge Blockbusters like Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, to small Indies like Spotlight. It gave movie lovers many great additions to revel in, and gave the Oscar’s great choices to nominate. Which leads us to an amazing little Indie called Room. Based on the book of the same name, the movie tells the story of a young woman who is held hostage in a small shed in her captor’s backyard, showing how she and her young son desperately try to escape after years of imprisonment.
Much like Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight
, both spend a good chunk of time in a small, contained area. Since there’s not much else to rely on, the writing has to be excellent, the performances have to be captivating, and the direction has to be extremely focused in order for the movie to work. If these things didn’t all come together, the movies would have been excruciating to sit through. Luckily for both, but especially Room, they are able to pull it off flawlessly.
Emma Donoghue (also the author of the book)
does an incredible job with the screenplay. Despite the setting being eerie and claustrophobic, the love between mother and son creates a massive emotional undertone, making you root for these characters from the very beginning. The screenplay really dives into every emotion and the trauma of how being held captive for years and years can take a toll on a person, even after they’re able to escape from it. The direction by Lenny Abrahamson is also fantastic. With only a small area to work with, he gets amazing performances out of his actors, and manages to keep a good balance between the thrilling and emotional aspects of his movie.
But the acting is what sets Room above most of its competition
. There have been some amazing performances this year, but none have been this raw or emotional. Brie Larson is a favorite to win the Oscar for best Actress this year, and she deserves it. She brings such an intense desperation to her role as she tries to escape, and pairs that with a protective, motherly love for her son. She’s a fierce and loving presence on screen and I can’t wait to see where this role takes her. But the heart and soul of this movie is Jacob Tremblay. I’m not the first to say that putting a child actor as a main character in your movie is a huge risk, and that too many have been crippled by it (The Phantom Menace for example). But this kid is phenomenal! He not only raises the bar for child actors, but easily surpasses most of his grown up competition this year, and the fact that he wasn’t nominated is unbelievable. The emotional range he shows from scene to scene, whether he’s angry at his mom, happy about his new toy, or showing childlike wonderment about the new world around him, is some of the best acting I’ve seen and it’s coming from a little kid! These two have amazing chemistry together, and with every fight and every hug between them, there’s never a doubt that they’re mother and son, and that they’re the most important thing in the world to each other.
So whether or not Room wins the awards it’s nominated for, it’s still one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Very few movies get you this emotionally invested
and make you want to cry 80% of the time, but this is one of them. So if you want to see some incredible acting, mixed with great direction and a raw, emotional story, this is the one for you.