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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Room (2015)


Give me a free Netflix account and I’ll stay in a room for as long as you want.

Being held captive for five years, Joy Newsome (Brie Larson) and her five-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), have come to terms with the situation that they’re living in. For the past five-to-seven years, they’ve been living in this warehouse that they call “Room”, and find interesting ways to make life for themselves in there as vibrant and as lovely as humanly possible. But now that Jack is getting older and, as Joy hopes, wiser, he’s going to have to start coming to terms with what’s “real” and what’s “make believe”. For instance, Jack doesn’t know that there’s actual life beyond Room, and this is something that Joy tries to hammer into his brain so that he too, will get the urge to want to get out of this place and back into the real world. And since Joy thinks he’s ready, she gives Jack a few tasks and it’s up to him, to see whether or not they get out of Room alive and well, or if they fail, yet again, left to rot away in this little little prison cell that they’ve been sadly thrown into.

It's so hard....

It’s so hard….

Movies like Room, are the type that I love to talk about, but at the same time, ones that I hate to review. For one, it’s the kind of movie that deserves to be seen, hardly knowing anything about going in. While so many of the ads and trailers for this movie have done everything but keep it subtle and unknown to the general audience just what happens with the plot and where it goes once it gets past the half-way mark, I, to those of you who may be reading wherever you are in the world, will do everything in my strength not to say just what happens in Room. Cause, from what mostly everybody knows, is that Room has something to do with a mother and son being locked-up and kept in this square-box.

That’s basically it.

Anything else about this movie, it’s probably best to steer clear of knowing about, because it not only ruins any chances of knowing what to expect from this movie, but by the same token, being able to suck it all in. Because in all honesty, Room snuck up on me and most likely, it will on you, too. You think you’ll have a general idea of where the story is going, see the wheels turning, and then, all of a sudden, you’ll have no clue and feel like possibly the dumbest person in the room. However, rather than feeling terrible and depressed about this fact, you’ll soon change your tune once you realize that it doesn’t matter, because Room, the movie, is so amazing.

It’s the kind of movie that plays with so many raw, gritty emotions, but handles them in such an effective, smart way, that it not only makes you want to praise director Lenny Abrahmson for not allowing this material to get as sappy and as melodramatic as it could have been, but also want to cry your eyes out. And honestly, the latter is what I did – on many occasions. While it’s not necessarily difficult to make me tear-up at a movie, it’s also not an easy feat, either; there has to be a certain feel of emotional connection and believeability to start the water-works.

Which is why they started so many times throughout Room. There’s these small, individual moments of absolute human-to-human emotion and heart that, quite frankly, I found incredibly hard to handle. But the movie never plays any of this up, ever; instead, it plays everything so low and matter-of-factly, that you’ll hardly notice that it’s working its magic on you.

That’s just the kind of movie Room is: You won’t expect it to work as well as it does, but honestly, that’s the real beauty of it, as well as many other smaller movies like it.

Which is why it’s so great to see Brie Larson get so much love and acclaim for it, as I feel like she’s literally on the verge of breaking-out and taking the whole world by storm. As Joy, Larson gets plenty of hard and heavy acting to do, but it never feels overwrought, or even obvious, as if she’s got the Oscar voters watching on-deck; instead, she feels exactly like a woman in her position would feel. While she wants to love and protect her son from every cruel thing that the world has to offer, she also doesn’t want him to forget that the world can actually be cruel and is, in ways, not as fair as it’s made out to be on TV.

And speaking of her son, Jacob Tremblay, despite being hardly eight when this flick was being made, gives a superb performance as Jack. What’s so smart about the character of Jack is that, well, he actually isn’t smart. Nor, for that matter, is he the kind of smart-ass, precocious child character we’re used to seeing in movies; rather, he’s just a kid who has no idea what sort of situation he’s into, except only to know what he wants to know or has been made to believe through TV, or certain things his mommy has told him. What makes this performance so spectacular, isn’t that he plays up this naivete with the wonderful sense of child-like wonder we so rarely see from actual child actors, but how he acts when he’s told that this world he lives and believes in, is nothing more than just pure fantasy. He’s upset, heart-broken and above all, confused. Which is exactly what any kid is like when they find out something they’ve been made to believe as true, actually isn’t.

...to find pictures that don't spoil Room.

…to find pictures that don’t spoil Room.

*cough cough* Santa Claus *cough cough* Easter Bunny *cough cough* any other mystical figure who comes to give you treats or gifts *cough cough*

And while I know that I’m being ridiculously vague with this whole review, but really, it’s for your own good. Just know that Room, is a near-masterpiece. There are certain bits of the story that felt maybe a tad too unexplained, but really, they’re basically just moments and ways for me to complain about stuff that doesn’t matter.

Just, please, pretty please, do yourself a favor and see Room.

Please.

Consensus: Smart, effective, well-acted, and most of all, emotional, Room plays with a lot of big, heavy feelings, yet, never over-does any of them and instead, feels like a human story everyone can connect to and take something out of, regardless of if they’ve ever been in the same situation as the characters, or not.

9 / 10

So I'm just gonna keep it like this.

So I’m just gonna keep it like this.

Photos Courtesy of: Indiewire

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8 responses to “Room (2015)

  1. JustMeMike November 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Fine review Dan. I saw this film last month on Opening NIght of the Twin Cities Film Festival in Minneapolis, MN. I thought the film was very strong. We had heard that the film did exceedingly well at the Toronto Film Festival. So it was really no surprise that Room walked off with the top honors at TCFF as Best Feature Film.

    Dan says, Do yourself a favor and see this film. And I totally concur with that statement.

  2. Bob Wurtenberg November 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Fantastic review Dan. This may be the best movie I have seen this year. Keep up the awesome reviews!

  3. Brittani November 12, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Great review! I read the book, so going in I already know everything, but I didn’t think the book went places I didn’t expect it to. It’s just a really interesting story and I look forward to the movie, which I think may work a bit better than the book.

  4. lauren November 12, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Great review. The book was amazing, I was so emotional reading it. I want to watch the movie but I also know how much I’m bound to cry when I do. Can’t wait to see Brie Larson in the role I think she’ll be excellent.

  5. Dude the cleaner November 13, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    This one is coming march 9 in France. I am going to see it. Nice review. It is on my list.

  6. bryanbuser November 16, 2015 at 1:33 am

    While you were vague about the plot, you weren’t vague in your review. Room is one of your best reviews yet and maybe your most honest. I agree that it was a complete masterpiece and your mention of Larson and Tremblay’s performance is right on. I think they both get nominated for Oscars and Larson wins, making her, perhaps, the most unknown actress ever to capture film’s top acting award.

  7. theoysterville December 18, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Agh I read the book of this a few years back and it really stayed with me. I had no idea they were making a film! Glad it sounds like it does the book justice. Haven’t seen this advertised anywhere but will have to track it down. Thanks for sharing!

  8. CineMuse January 14, 2016 at 4:33 am

    I enjoyed reading this, thanks Dan the Man. Being vague about a plot thats well know in the novel is thoughtful of you, even though theres no plot beyond what you describe. Lots of good things in the first half of this film, but it fizzes out a bit too early in the second half. Here’s my take on it if you would like to compare notes at https://richardalaba.wordpress.com

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