Growing up, one of the early lessons that your parents would often teach is that at times the world can be a scary place. But for Lenny Abrahamson’s much-touted adaptation Room, Brie Larson’s caring mother takes that to a whole new level by convincing her young son Jack that their decrepit 10-foot by 10-foot abode they call home is quite literally their entire world.
Imprisoned in the claustrophobic room for reasons that are not quite clear yet, the pair lead a life that is decidedly insular; this is their home, and anything that exists beyond the four walls that encapsulate them is essentially alien. For all five years of his miserable life, Jack (played with aplomb by up-and-comer Jacob Tremblay) has been locked away from the outside world in a premise that borders on agoraphobia. But no longer is Jack a baby for Larson’s character to shelter, and she soon devises a plan for her nearest and dearest to escape.
Adapted from Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel of the same name, Room is emerging as something of an Oscar dark horse, particularly when it comes to Larson’s emphatic, heart-wrenching turn as the mother. Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, and William H. Macy may also star in the drama, but Abrahamson’s rendition is ultimately about the timeless bond between mother-and-son, and how that can ultimately transcend even the most harrowing of circumstances.
For more on Lenny Abrahamson’s thrilling drama, you can check out our early thoughts from TIFF.
Like any good mother, Ma dedicates herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories. Their life, however, is anything but typical—they are trapped—confined to a windowless, 10-by-10-foot space, which Ma has euphemistically named “Room.” Ma has created a whole universe for Jack within Room, and she will stop at nothing to ensure that, even in this treacherous environment, Jack is able to live a complete and fulfilling life. But as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, and Ma’s resilience reaches its breaking point, they enact a risky plan to escape, ultimately bringing them face-to-face with what may turn out to be the scariest thing yet: the real world.