Room tells the extraordinary story of Jack (Jacob Tremblay), a spirited 5-year-old who is looked after by his loving and devoted mother (Brie Larson). 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 that 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.
This sometimes difficult to watch, or even contemplate, film is thankfully handled with great delicacy by director Lenny Abrahamson. So don’t be afraid to search it out even after it disappears from the few theaters where it is currently showing. It will be on video soon. If you watch a fair share of movies and have been paying attention in recent years, you may have noticed Larson in smaller but terrific roles.
It is now 7 years after teenager, Joy Newsome (Larson) disappeared from her home in Ohio. The film opens as she and her now 5 year old son, Jack, celebrate his birthday imprisoned in a 15’ x 15’ shed. Captured by “Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers), Ma/Joy is routinely raped by the bastard which ultimately produces Jack. And for the record, Abrahamson keeps the scenes off camera. In return for her cooperation, Nick feeds the mother and son and provides the shelter. But they never leave. Their only view of the outside world comes in the form of a skylight.
Ma decides that since Jack is now a big boy, she must teach him the realities of the outside world. Until this point, she has made a game of things, keeping it simple for a young child. To Jack the pictures that come from a crappy TV aren’t real. They are just pictures. Jack has no concept of reality. In a terrific scene, we see Ma trying to teach Jack how a wall works. That is, there are things on one side of a wall and different things on the other side.
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Year of Release: 2016
Character to watch: Character to watch: Brie Larson as Ma.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?