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WHAT'S NEW AT THE MOVIES?
This remarkable adaptation is unnerving, intimate and surprisingly cool. You’ll be as moved, curious and safe as you might want to be.
For the uninitiated, Room was a very popular novel (Emma Donoghue has also written the screenplay) about a young mother and her five year old son, trapped in a windowless shack. The first half of the film takes place in that womby room, deliberately detailing how they got there, how they live and how they try to escape. We’ve seen captivity flicks before but this, digging into the most primal of relationships, carries a special wallop. Lenny Abrahamson’s direction is clean and efficient, never prettying things up or getting in the way of his two, extraordinary actors.
Remember the names Brie Larson (so terrific in Short Term 12) and Jacob Tremblay, you’ll be hearing far more about them both in awards buzz and, hopefully, as their careers flourish. Rarely do we see actors nail the honest ultimate closeness of child/parent bond on screen and it’s to the credit of all involved that here that we do. In the film’s more intellectual second half, we remain as emotionally invested as we do because of it.
As astonishing as Larson and Tremblay are, it is also wonderful to see Joan Allen again, stepping in to what could have been a treacly role with signature intelligence and warmth.
I expected to be devastated by this film. I was not. Well, ok, a little bit. But it seems to have been a decision by the filmmakers to not go there, to keep us just scared and sad enough. That may make it easier for some wary ticket buyers but I’m not sure it makes for a better film. Still, there are real rewards watching what we do, mostly thanks to the two unforgettable leading performances. .