A woman and her son spend seven years imprisoned in a
shed, and struggle to cope with the world after they escape.
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
Written by Emma Donoghue
Starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen,
Tom McCamus, William H. Macy, Sean Bridgers
Based on the novel by Emma Donoghue
Oscar Wins - Best Actress (Brie Larson)
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Director,
Best Adapted Screenplay
I knew about Elizabeth Fritzl's tragic tale before going into this one. She was a woman who had been locked in a basement by her father for 24 years and forced to bear seven of his children. She escaped, underwent massive psychological treatment, and is currently living somewhere secret away from journalists and podcasters. I knew this film had a similar story, so I kept away from it for a while. I just knew it was going to be incredibly sad and unforgettable. And I was right. Holy hell, this is a rough watch.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are absolutely lights out, and I'm very glad Larson won an Oscar for her performance here. She balances loving mother and emotionally broken prisoner perfectly. Even when they escape and finally come home, she continues to play this "free but not really" fractured soul, and it's heartbreaking. On the other side, you have Tremblay as her son Jack, who has never known anything outside of the world he calls Room. Imagine spending the first five years of your live in a garden shed, unaware of the rest of the world or anything in it. Since the film is mostly through Jack's eyes, we get to experience a bit of that. It's astonishing.
Room is one of the most emotionally devastating films of the 2010's, and it's definitely a one-and-done, at least for me. The escape scene is incredibly tense, the recovery is optimistic but still rough, and the characters are way too real. The worst part is that stories like this are real. Women have been kidnapped and imprisoned for years, sometimes decades, and forced to bear their attackers' children. I can't imagine a worse hell. This film does justice to those stories and delivers a powerful drama that I will never forget.