User Reviews (446)

  • Ed-Shullivan20 September 2015
    Imagine yourself as a 5 year old child discovering for the first time a brand new world exists outside of your room
    SPOILER: At the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival the film "ROOM" won the People's Choice Award today. It tells a story of a young woman and her five year old son who have been held in captivity in a confined and windowless living space for six years. Brie Larson stars as Ma and her son named Jack is played by Jacob Tremblay who is so believable that you will feel empathetic towards their captivity but relief as to how Ma convinces Jack that their little world is real and is wonderful.

    As Jack grows he starts to ask questions about their isolated lifestyle and we the audience anticipate that Ma must try and escape with young Jack but how?

    The story draws similarities to the actual events that were Jaycee Lee Dugard's true life story which occurred on June 10, 1991, in South Lake Tahoe, California. Dugard was 11 years old at the time she was abducted from a street while she was walking from home to a school bus stop and she was held captive for the next 18 years in a concealed back yard in a make shift shed. There is also some resemblance to the kidnapping of Amanda Berry who had a child fathered by her kidnapper Ariel Castro. This film was titled Cleveland Abduction and it was released in 2015. It tells the true story of three girls who were held captive for over 10 years by Ariel Castro in his home with no one aware how close the girls were to their own homes and families.

    The film Room focuses more on Jack and Ma's awkward adjustment to life outside of their room which was their entire world for the past six years. There is a strong supporting cast including performances such as Joan Allen's role as Jack's loving Grandma and the ever convincing all-star William H Macy as a resistant Grandpa who is having difficulty accepting that his daughter is raising her rapist's son.

    There are some scenes that are so heartwarming that it will be difficult not to find yourself becoming emotionally involved. In one particular very touching and loving scene, Jack asks his Grandma to cut his long hair so that the strength that he thinks that his shoulder length hair possesses can be transferred over to his sick Ma so she can return home from the hospital. Jack who understandably is initially withdrawn from anyone other than his Ma simply tells his Grandma after she washes and cuts his hair that he loves her. This loving scene between Jack and his Grandma will stay with me forever.

    Jack and Ma's is a story of isolation, fear, hopelessness versus hope and most importantly a film about redemption and the family bond. Room is deserving of an Oscar nomination for best picture and nominations in a few other categories as well such as best actress, best actor and best director. I give the film a 9.5 out of 10 rating. This film is terrific!!
  • ryan-bfd6 January 2016
    This one is gonna stick with me
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Room" is an adaption of an internationally best-seller novel written by Irish playwright and novelist, Emma Donoghue. This is her first book to be adapted into a major motion picture and I have to say that it is a rather impressive one. I have not read Emma's novel yet, but I can only guess that this movie sticks to the novel's roots, considering that Emma decided to write the screenplay herself. Room is a story about a women who was kidnapped during her high school years and locked in a shed for 7 years. She was impregnated by her kidnapper in this room and was locked inside with the child. The child grows up and around the age of five is when the movie picks up. Throughout this entire movie we are taken through this story strictly from the Jack's (the child) point of view. Even though this story is experienced through the lens of this child, the story is in no way filtered or gussied up. It is this intimate and raw story about a child and his mother spending a hugely relevant portion of their existence stuck in this dull, dirty and claustrophobia-inducing shed. This shed contained one small window that emits a tiny portion of daylight into the room. To me, this represented a light at the end of the tunnel. Sort of like a tiny glimmer of hope in a deep and dark abyss. Throughout this entire movie, Jack narrates his experiences as he embarks upon the world. Jacob Trembley portrays this character with such a sense of wonder and innocence that every single narration that I hear from this boy is just heartbreaking. Every time Jack takes away something from the world, he takes it in as something new and exciting even if it is scary. They are things that everyone takes for granted everyday: trees, dogs, the sky, etc. You would think that the dramatic climax would be at the beginning when Jack gets out of the tiny room he has been locked in his entire life, but after-wards, this film just drags in one dramatic scene after another in a way that turns this film into one big heartache an experience. I do have say that Jacob Trembley and Allison Brie's performances carry a lot of the weight of this film. Allison gives a very natural and organic performance. You never catch her overacting or being too stiff during any scene in this movie. Jack Trembley gave one of the most, if not the most, impressive performances of the year. Not just because of his age, but because of how well of a dramatic performance that he gives without over or underacting in any of his scenes. He seemed to take his role with a very adult-like seriousness that translated into a lot of the movie's themes of innocence that are chased by the persistent and harsh reality that Jack and his mother are facing. The directing and cinematography in this film are beautiful. The film's intense theme is complimented with a variety of out-of- focus and close up shots that highlight the child's immediate consciousness as he takes the outside world with fresh- eyes. Many of the scenes are also complimented by a beautiful and breathtaking film score composed by the award-winning Stephen Rennicks who has been crafting soundtracks in the indie film world since 1997. Overall, this is a film that I won't be forgetting for the rest of my life. Mainly because it is a film about escaping outside of the room that you have been stuck in your whole life and discovering a world that has been hidden from you. I know that sounds kind of cheesy but this film does it in the most grounded and intense way possible. Not to mention that it is dosed with themes of abandonment, human-kindness, and media exploitation. I don't usually give films a 10/10. As a matter of fact, I could probably count the films this year that I do consider 10s on one hand. The films I consider perfect are life changing in some way or benchmarks in cinematic history. While this film will probably be washed away by the ever expanding ocean that is cinema, it is not a movie that I will be personally ever forgetting. I can't remember watching a film that made me feel so grateful for just being alive.
  • Red-12514 December 2015
    A brilliant movie, but painful to watch
    Warning: Spoilers
    Room (2015/I) was directed by Lenny Abrahamson. It stars Jacob Tremblay as Jack and Brie Larson as his mother ("Ma")

    The situation becomes very clear early in the film. Jack and his mother are held captive by a man who has kidnapped her, raped her, impregnated her, and uses her as his sexual slave. Jack and his mother have lived in a small, locked shed, which they call "Room." Jack's mother has lived in "Room" since she was abducted seven years earlier. Jack has lived there for all of his life--five years.

    By incredible ingenuity, motivated by love, Ma has kept Jack from realizing the horrors of their situation. It's hard to believe that anyone could be so motivated and capable, allowing the boy to believe that his situation is normal, but it works in the film and you accept it.

    What happens next is pretty well known, but I won't go into it because it might decrease your enjoyment of the movie. It's dramatic, frightening, and, heart-wrenching, all at the same time.

    Brie Larson does a wonderful job as the mother, and Jacob Tremblay has to be the best child actor we have. He is absolutely brilliant. Director Abrahamson must be an extremely talented man to draw two such great performances from his actors.

    This is a must-see film, but it's not easy to watch. Even though Room wasn't based on any specific incident, we all know of cases of warped men who have kidnapped and enslaved women. It's hard to think about the lives of those women without becoming depressed.

    We saw the film at the excellent Little Theatre in Rochester, NY. Given the claustrophobic atmosphere of the movie, it will work on the small screen as well. Seek it out and watch, but prepare yourself mentally before you begin.
  • Dominic Michael Tierno2 January 2016
    Infinitely deep, an experience I will not forget.
    *Insert all 9 & 10 reviews here* I was in awe during the entire film. Lenny Abrahamson & the writing team made sure there was not one dull moment. The addition of "insignificant" characters and plot twists are later realized to be so significant and influential in keeping the film alive throughout its duration. It was the little things that made this story one of the best I've seen in a long time. I experienced an entire palette of emotions all at once and was left in a deep level of curiosity and reflection. Very few films have the power to continue to influence its audience after the credits. Room is endless in the most beautiful way.
  • joey-ziemniak11 October 2015
    A non-traditional thriller with another brilliant turn from Brie Larson but an even better one from Jacob Tremblay.
    Warning: Spoilers
    Room is a harrowing thriller, but not in the traditional sense of the word. It deals with a dark subject matter and the first half of the film can be quite disturbing. Yet director Lenny Abrahamson (Frank) has adapted the best-selling novel with grace and grandeur. Here is a film so artistically unique and deviant, chock full of genuine emotion thanks to two outstanding performances, that isn't afraid to take risks and surprise at every turn.

    Based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, Room introduces us to Ma and Jack, a mother and son held captive in a garden shed. As we learn more about their captivity, their world becomes clearer and clearer to us. They live by a routine, have names for every object in room, and Ma must be careful as her son grows older and more curious.

    The film is structured into two halves, and by now it's no spoiler that the second half deals with their readjustment into the outside world, and Jack's first time outside of room. The film is thematically complex, yet never overwhelming. At its core it's about motherhood, but Jack's unique upbringing complicates things.

    Director Lenny Abrahamson is no stranger to the strange, and with Room he's made a masterpiece of filmmaking. The entire idea of 'room,' the abstract concept of space, is ever-present in the production. In their bubble of room, Ma and Jack are restricted, as evident by Abrahamson's close angles and tight shots. The small space allows for high concept filmmaking, and when they get out of room, it only gets better, with a new color palette and experimental camera angles through Jack's eyes. The entire film is seen through the eyes of this child, and it's genius. What I loved about the book was its focus on Jack and how he adjusts to seeing this new world for the first time, and the movie never loses sight of that.

    I wrote about the pressure placed on child actors in my review for the incredible Beasts of No Nation, and Jacob Tremblay fits like a glove. Like Abraham Attah, he isn't a child actor, but an actor who just happens to be of a younger age. His wide eyes and expressive thoughts are very believable, and when he sees the outside world for the first time, it's a thing of beauty. Tremblay has brilliant chemistry with Brie Larson, and for one second I never doubted her devotion to him. As Ma faces frustrating upon leaving room, from her parents, doctors, and the media, she never forgets her son Jack, and always puts his wellbeing first. Larson taps into this character, one that undergoes a stunning transformation as she basically lost seven years of her life being locked up. Her performance will blow you away.

    The best actors are the ones able to transport you into their characters' own universes, no matter how isolated from society they happen to be. Larson, Tremblay, and Joan Allen all have a tremendous range of emotional ability and are able to sell you on their story not just for two hours, but for an entire lifetime. With Room, Abrahamson goes the extra mile with his direction, and director of photography Danny Cohen keeps all eyes on Jack. The film asks us to examine how we view the world and how this viewpoint is shaped by our nurtured upbringing. The result is a breathtaking experience brought to life, one you won't soon forget.
  • Howard Schumann8 November 2015
    A tense and compelling film
    Lenny Abrahamson's Room opens in a 10 x 10 room that has no windows, a locked door, and no light other than that provided by an overhead skylight. Jack (Jacob Tremblay), a slight five-year old boy with hair down to his shoulders wakes up each morning as he has all his life, saying hello to his world. He says hello, not to the sun or the grass outside his front door where he can run and laugh and play but only to the objects which is all his world consists of: the lamp, the sink, the plant, the refrigerator. His only friend is a mouse that he feeds with some pleasure.

    Not that he lacks for companionship. Ma (Brie Larson) is with him and their endless days consist of cooking, reading, and watching TV where Jack is told that what he sees on the screen is not real, only pretend. All he knows of the world is what he sees in front of his eyes. Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) brings food and other household items but when he comes, Jack has to hide in his wardrobe, out of sight. Ma, we find out, has been kept prisoner and used for sex by the hulking man who comes every night and we know that Jack is a result of his mother's rape. Jack is the focus of the film and we see everything from his point of view, with the help of his sometime narration but we can also get into his mother's mind and feel her pain and live her dreams.

    There is never any doubt of his mother's love though the obvious strain of keeping herself from crying out every minute is painfully obvious. To Jack, she is the center of his world and his reason for being. When the second half of the film takes a surprising turn and shifts 180 degrees, Jack and Ma are not prepared for what awaits them. Even when an alternative is suggested as possible, he doesn't want to hear anything about a different world with blue sky and rivers and trees. Room is a tense and compelling film in which Brie Larson more than fulfills the brilliance that she showed in Short Term 12 and should make her an Oscar contender. Tremblay is also superb.

    He lives his character and makes him come alive, even though he is only nine years old. Supporting roles by Joan Allen and William H. Macy also contribute to the film's second half but it is always Larson and Tremblay that carry the day. The film is not mawkish or sentimental even though the soaring score by Stephen Rennicks comes close. While there are has some plot implausibilities, the film is a tribute to the resiliency and the dedicated love of a parent for their child. It is also a teaching experience. Like many who are walled off from each other and think the box they are in is all there is, the film can give us the combination to open the locked door, if we take the risk to turn the key.
  • Hua Mulan24 October 2015
    The best film I've seen in years: indescribable!
    I know one thing, I will never, ever forget this heartrending, unbelievably-acted 'movie' for the rest of my days. I'm just at a loss for words and struggling to describe how truly powerful and heart-grabbing this story was. I'll go so far as to say that if you don't cry, shed a tear, or feel the urge to weep profusely after (or while) watching Room, you don't have a heart. The mother (Brie Larson) and her son (Jacob Tremblay, 9 years old!) carry this entire movie. The beauty of Room is in its bare rawness, realness and universally relatable nature. What can I say? It tapped into something deep, deep, deep within me and just ripped my heart to shreds and had me in tears; sometimes tears of sadness, and other times tears of heavenly joy. It made me smile at times and even laugh. But most of all, it always had my eyes glued to the screen and my soul enthralled by what I was witnessing. This is one of the best, truly real stories ever told and one of the best uses of cinema I've ever seen. ...Try not to read much/anything about it before going in to see it (and yes, definitely catch it in a theater near you ASAP). Go in and be engrossed and moved (in ways I can't describe) by this experience. 10/10 *Hands down* the best film of 2015, and the single best thing I've seen in years. :')
  • namashi_119 December 2015
    A Harrowing Film with Incredible Performances!
    Based on the novel of the same name by Emma Donoghue, 'Room' is a challenging, unsettling, harrowing film, that leaves you disturbed. But that is its sheer power. The Incredible Performances only add to the film's hefty nature.

    'Room' Synopsis: After five-year-old Jack and his mother escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world.

    'Room' is a disturbing story about bad things that happen to good people. But its also about hope & fighting back. Its shocking to see the protagonist, a child, discover the world along-with his brave mother, who survived a harrowing experience. I was engrossed & often disturbed by the narrative, especially after the son & mother escape. The series of events that follow are so gut-wrenching, I almost broke down.

    'Room' is masterfully penned by Emma Donoghue herself. The Writing is consistently powerful & the dialogue are realistic to the core. Lenny Abrahamson's Direction is first-class. He has handled this dramatic, unsettling tale with complete flourish. Cinematography is perfectly claustrophobic. Editing is razor-crisp. Art Design is skilfully done.

    Performance-Wise: Brie Larson & Jacob Tremblay deliver incredible performances. Brie is astounding as the tormented, yet brave protagonist, while Jacob steals the show with a flawless performance. The child does wonders & makes 'Room' unforgettable. Of the supporting cast, Joan Allen & The Always Solid William H. Macy leave a solid mark.

    On the whole, 'Room' is a must watch! Its certainly unsettling, but its power is undeniable.
  • jamesthecat-6782816 September 2016
    Beautiful, moving, intense
    I haven't seen a genuinely emotional, smart, non-manipulative, heart- felt drama in a loooong time. Brie Larson deservedly won an Oscar for her performance in this, but Room should've swept the board in every category.

    The film centres on a Mother and her five year old son, living inside just four walls, and it slowly transpires that she has been held captive for seven years, and had a child by her kidnapper. She creates a world for her son within their confines, not telling him the truth about their situation and what's outside until he's old enough to understand. After failed escape attempts in the past, but now with the help of her son, she gives freedom another try.

    There were moments in Room that were so intense that I barely breathed. It never feels inauthentic, and thanks to incredible acting, it's always believable. If you want a straight-up thriller of 'bad guy commits crime, bad guy gets comeuppance', you'll be disappointed. This is about human resilience, the bond between Mother and child, selflessness, and finding your place in the world after having your understanding of it flipped upside down.
  • bob-the-movie-man27 January 2016
    Awesome film - shame about the trailer
    Room, based on the book by Emma Donoghue, starts on young Jack's 5th birthday. He gets a birthday cake from his mother (but no candles); a visit from his father; and a gift, albeit belatedly. This would all be perfectly normal except that all of this takes place within 'Room' - a confined space with only a single skylight for daylight and no means of escape. For the mother, Joy, was abducted as a teen and locked away for sex in the style of the dreadful real-life examples such as that perpetrated by Josef Fritzl in Austria. Jack is the (presumably) unintended result: a boy with no perception of the real world beyond his four single-sided walls and with the staunchly-held view that the things he sees on a flickering TV screen are in 'TV land' and unreal. Will Jack and Joy survive and ever see freedom again?

    And that's where I'll leave this synopsis, since (if you've been lucky enough to avoid the trailer) there is a tense cat-and-mouse story to unfurl here.

    This is an absorbing, although slow-moving, film that builds to some truly nail-biting moments. The screenwriter (also Donoghue) and director (Irishman Lenny "Frank" Abrahamson) are to be commended in keeping the story and drama really well-grounded and un-saccharined. Old Nick (Sean Bridgers), the 'evil kidnapper', is not painted as some predictable monster: he is even portrayed to be kind and caring at some warped level. And there is no gratuitous sex: we are in effect seven years into the story and the abnormal is now completely normalised.

    The film is told primarily from the viewpoint of Jack (Jacob Tremblay) but we also get under the skin of Joy (Brie Larson) and her emotions in trying to mentally deal with her ordeal. Looking at a picture of her with her school friends she bitterly comments that "Nothing happened to them - - they just got on with their lives".

    The acting is superb. I made the mistake of voting for John Boyega for the BAFTA Rising Star award before seeing this film (you can cast your vote here Not that Boyega isn't great, but Brie Larson really REALLY delivers here. She obviously won't give a hoot if she wins the Best Actress Oscar! And for me, for this award, she shines out in what I would perhaps see as one of this year's weaker Oscar categories. Jacob Tremblay is also exceptional as Jack - and it would be nice (rather than try to compare young performances with adult ones, as per Anna Paquin) if there was a special awards category for actors and actresses under 10. If there was, then Tremblay would storm it! You seriously forget that this is a child acting a part. He is totally connected to the role and these two core performances lock in your belief in the story.

    Supporting the cast are the ever reliable William H Macy as Joy's mentally tortured father, Joan Allen (Pamela Landy from the "Bourne" films) as her equally distraught mother and Sean Bridgers as the kidnapper.

    At 2 hours long some of the scenes in the middle of the film made my attention waver a little. But my main criticism is in the trailer and marketing of the film. If ever there was a need for a true 'teaser trailer' this is it. I never know who is responsible for putting trailers together - whether the director has the final say or whether its some nameless marketing bods in the distribution company, but whoever it is they should be taken out and 'given a good talking to' for this travesty. It's like putting all of the twists in films like "The Crying Game", "The Sixth Sense" and "Gone Girl" in their respective trailers. I've gone so far as to create my own One Mann's Movies cut of the trailer, just for you good people, which I have included with my version of this review.

    A leisurely, nuanced and effecting drama, this is not for fans of "Die Hard" or "Fast and Furious" fans. But for everyone else, this should be a must see.

    Please visit for the graphical version of this review. Thanks.
  • fredf-6714916 December 2015
    (Insert Expletive Here).... Perfect!!!!!
    Don't listen to the haters or those that want to chip away at the overall brilliance of 'Room'. What film doesn't have small flaws, they pale into insignificance during the 2 hours of continuous emotional maelstrom that follows. This film wrings every last drop of emotion and drama out of the allotted playtime. Make no mistake, despite short bursts of touching serenity, this films starts up full throttle and doesn't let-up. I can only assume reviewers here scoring this film 8 or less must be Vulcan by birth, or just terminally insensitive. This is a first rate drama with stand out performances all round. Especially from the child protagonist.

    **Warning** If you have trouble viewing emotionally charged material of a sensitive nature about abuse. You would be well advised not to view this film.
  • jsharma19 November 2015
    room is perfect
    Warning: Spoilers
    Too many tears, too much sadness. Story of a teenager Ma kidnapped, raped and made a mom. And mom and son Jack locked in a room away from the world. Really sad when Jack said I don't want to be 5 I want to be 4. Even a 5 year old wants continued happiness in simplicity and in the arms of his only friend his own mother. He wants to be breast fed , he wants to shower with his Ma. He enjoys the only place he knows for his first 5 yrs of his life. There is no chaos from the real person he knows. Ma wants Jack to rescue them from the room. Life outside the room has its' own problems of tears, cries, fights.

    Excellent writing by Emma Donoghue who wrote the novel and the screenplay. Jacob Tremblay as Jack and Brie Larson as his mother Ma are terrific. Every scene, every dialogue has sincerity. Oscar worthy screenplay. Oscar worthy acting . Joan Allen as Ma's mom and Jack's grandma is perfect grandma, loving, caring, sensitive and excellent. Definite Oscar nominees. Jacob Tremblay , so young and so perfect in every scene.
  • Jeff Stetz23 December 2015
    This movie transformed my life, but not for the reasons people might think
    Warning: Spoilers
    I usually trust RottenTomatoes and IMDb ratings, and while I might watch something that gets a 60% rating or above if the subject interests me, I will usually fall in line with the critics and reviewers on any movie that gets a 97% on RT or such high scores on IMDb. Well, this movie completely shattered my entire belief system, to the point where I find myself without a guiding light for the future.

    Many better worded reviews on this site have already captured the grievances that I had with this film, but I must write mine out so that I can feel better and move on with my life...

    It felt like it was 3 hours long. In an unbelievable feat of cinematography, they managed to stretch time so that a 2 hour movie felt like 3. The could have condensed the film into an hour and 20 minutes and I would felt less cheated. Outside of a short plot line, *nothing* happened. And every single thread that could have been interesting to develop was cut short leaving us unsatisfied and wondering.

    It's a movie about nothing. There was no great insight into the human cause or suffering, no great insight into the psyche of the captor, no details on the parental breakup, no real role given to the very interesting characters of the girl's real father or her mom's new husband. The girl was a b*tch (I mean, that's forgivable given the circumstances), but outside of sympathy for her, it was not entertaining to connect with her on any level. And every single time anything got interesting in the movie the scene ended.

    The real life is a lot scarier and way more touching than this movie, and unless one lives in a room, turning on the news every day brings a lot more real emotion and watching a poorly constructed movie with a very minimal depth is not that touching. What can we learn from a 5 year old and his view on the world? That could be interesting to see, sure, but even here, the monologues were short and infantile (because what would you expect from a 5 year old?) Jack was no great thinker at a young age. Yes, the world is full of wonder on the outside, whether you're 5 or 85.

    Perhaps it was a movie for those whose view on life has gotten so complacent that they lost any sense of that wonderment and listening to an annoying 5 year old describe his first experiences in the real world outside of his room brought them to tears because of nostalgia or remembering their own childhood innocence. Clearly, I am one of the few against the world who Loved this movie, so I'll be the first to admit defeat.

    Now, however, I'm left to scratch my head and re-evaluate my relationship with movie reviews.
  • Turfseer29 January 2016
    Disturbing abduction plot and subsequent redemption tale doesn't rise above the level of an average Lifetime Movie
    Warning: Spoilers
    Room is based on the 2010 novel of the same name by the Irish turned Canadian novelist/playwright Emma Donoghue. The film has already garnered accolades from almost all critical quarters with heaps of approbation for its lead actress, Brie Larson. It's a rather uncomplicated story with a plot that is broken up into two distinct parts.

    For the first 45 minutes or so, a young mother, Joy, and five year old son, Jack, appear trapped in a small room where they've been residing for quite a long time. Eventually it's revealed we're watching a horror story: seven years earlier, when Joy was 17 years old, she was kidnapped by a neighborhood pervert, Old Nick, who has kept her prisoner in a shed next to his house. Old Nick makes what appear to be weekly visits bringing groceries but also rapes Joy whenever he comes over. There's no escape from the room that only has one skylight window since Old Nick is the only one who knows the numbers to the combination lock to enter.

    Jack is born as a result of Old Nick violating Joy and it's her son that's the only thing keeping her alive. The child does remarkably well despite growing up in such a deprived environment. Joy teaches Jack how to make a birthday cake and he plays with the limited amount of objects found in the room—occasionally Old Nick might bring the boy a present (such as an electric model car). There are of course tensions between mother and son—Joy doesn't react well when Jack throws a tantrum for example.

    The best part of the picture is the way in which Joy and Jack are rescued from this abominable situation--but unfortunately it's not all that believable. Joy's plan is to have Jack pretend that he's dead and instruct him how to escape from inside a rolled up rug after Old Nick drives away in his pickup to dispose of the "body." The entire escape is predicated on Old Nick's decision not to check to see if Jack is really dead—as the scene plays out, Old Nick inexplicably backs off after Joy screams at him not to look at Jack because (as she explains it to him), she can't stomach the idea of the pervert touching her dead son. The subsequent way in which Jack miraculously escapes from Old Nick's truck and the heart- pounding way in which the police figure out where the little boy came from, make up for the slow-moving turn of events in Act One.

    The second half of Room does not have the rising tension found in the first. The focus on how all the family members adjust is what the second half of Act Two is all about. Joy returns home to find her mother Nancy divorced from her father Robert, and now married to Leo. There is an underdeveloped subplot involving Robert who is repulsed by the idea that Jack was conceived through rape and that his father was pervert Old Nick. Robert goes home to an out of state residence and his catalog of resentments remain unexplored.

    A better subplot involves the intrusion of the media upon Joy and the rest of the family. Joy agrees to give an interview to a reporter for money and she asks her painful questions about what went on with Old Nick and whether she made the right decision in raising Jack and depriving him of a normal childhood (the suggestion is made that she could have convinced Old Nick to leave the newborn Jack anonymously at a hospital).

    Conflict develops between Joy and Nancy and eventually there's the rather predictable trope of Joy attempting suicide. Most critics found Jack's acclimation to his new found world to be touching and cathartic. When he bonds with Leo's dog and a new pal next door, all seems right with the world. And even Joy is seen getting herself together at film's end.

    So what is one to think of all this? It's a story that I suppose holds one's interest to the end; although the central twist (i.e. the escape), feels contrived. While the young Jacob Tremblay did a fine job playing Jack, his successful adjustment to the outside world feels to me much more schematic than cathartic, as many critics insist. As for Brie Larson, calls for her to win an Oscar for best actress seem misplaced--although her performance is fine given the pedestrian script.

    In the end, Room rises to the level of an average Lifetime movie, with a few interesting twists and turns here and there but more predictable elements making up the bulk of the overall proceedings.
  • svorva26 January 2016
    And the Award for Best Drama for Housewives Goes to……
    Warning: Spoilers
    It's hard to get revenge on a bad movie. I am partially consoled considering I snuck into this theater rather than paying for a ticket. Still, this subversion robbed me of the cathartic argument over my refund with some hapless manager. Room stole two hours of my life, and the only way I am going to get value from that experience is to get the last word.

    Room has an extremely fertile premise. An unnamed woman (Brie Larson) has been kidnapped and imprisoned in a shed for seven years, five of which she has spent raising her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay). I am unaware how the book navigated this premise, but author and screenwriter Emma Donoghue had a bottomless potential of directions and selected none. The writing is too shallow to be a thought experiment on trauma or a character study. The narrative is too muddled by loose ends to be a simple "feel good" movie. Cult classic The Room had a similar degree of cohesion… yeah okay no it didn't. Poor contractually obligated jokes aside, Room is simply aimless. This child grows up in a 10x10 room surrounded by sexual abuse his entire life and his lone complications are a paleness, shyness, and poor grammar. I have met children with comparable behavior from normal households. Children might be plastic, but no one is going to manage a full swift recovery from being born into this environment. The mother character is better explored, but barely. The strength of this woman while kidnapped is unbelievable, but interesting questions are raised after the escape. Her relationship with her parents, her friends, and dealing with new realties are all introduced and either dropped or solved off screen. This is a device derived from the book where everything is seen through Jack's perspective. But post-escape Jack is just cute and boring, not worth following. His narration of events is insufferable. The conclusion of Room is sickening. The film has the audacity to propose that mother and son will be able to leave this experience behind in the closing moments. This claim is beyond ignorant and well into insulting.

    For the sake of critical fairness I will mention all the two and a half things I enjoyed. The escape sequence is genuinely thrilling. Putting a child in peril is often a cheap way to manipulate the audience. It worked here, so credit is due. Second, the cinematography in the room itself was surprising. I think most films would have tried for a more claustrophobic. Instead, the dimensions are simply defined and unjudged. The abrupt camera pans while Jack is running from wall to wall brilliantly reflects the mindset of these trapped characters. This place is simultaneously small and their entire world; traversing the room is trivial, but also the greatest possible distance. The one victory achieved by the closing scene is the brief moment perfect perspective when the room is seen from the outside. Finally, the acting was serviceable. It is hard to completely differentiate the awful roles from performances, but the film did dodge some melodrama.

    The Oscars successfully suckered me into watching Room. I would like to just chuck this movie atop a pile of other examples where the illustrious academy failed, but I am apparently in the minority. There are some aspects of quality filmmaking here, but there is no prize for best drama for housewives. Room took a premise ripe with potential and failed to nurture it with a drop of ingenuity or realism. I was disappointed, and I refuse to believe I am the only one.
  • Cinnyaste16 December 2015
    Fails To Plumb The Subject's Depth
    Warning: Spoilers
    A poor kissing cousin to "Stockholm, Pennsylvania," "Room" is a backyard shed creating the world's limits to a kidnapped young woman and her by-the-adbductor son.

    Snatched at seventeen, Joy (Brie Larson) is imprisoned for seven years by a standard, un-dimensional psycho holding the power of life and death over her. (Cross him in the least and there's no electricity or heat.) At the start, Joy's son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), is angry and semi-feral yet quite content following silly rules in the only world he knows. Their pointless days come to an end when Joy contrives Jack's death forcing the psycho to bury the allegedly dead child. Well-rehearsed, Jack escapes and the dominoes fall leading to their escape to a world that has passed by Joy and one in which Jack has zero knowledge (a first encounter with steps mystifies him).

    Yellow ribbons and celebrations follow. With opposite effect. Joy's parents have divorced, high school chums have moved on. A formative slice of high school track star Joy's life is missing. Joy's biological dad harshly judges her; mom and daughter fight at the same level of a rebellious teen railing against parental control.

    Due to his age, Jack is 'plastic', his societal integration much easier. Soon he's knocking around a ball with neighbor kid. But, a reporter's insensitive question causes Joy to break down which leads to a brief institutionalization. And she's released all better.

    However, the treatment of an inherently dramatic subject matter of abduction and reintegration here falls short. The sunshine and rainbows, feel good ending, while moving, is mawkish. Everyone is healed and the horror of what was lived through for nearly a decade is forgotten. It is also a cheap device when children are wiser than adults. All these problems of the script.

    The balance of the failure of this film rests squarely on Brie Larson's shoulders. Her portrayal, as others, is at arms length with the character and hit a wall keeping her from connecting with feelings. Many crow her portrayal is spectacular. For her it is. In the annals of effective acting it is middling. Therefore, this is her tour de force - by default.

    "Stockholm, Pennsylvania" took the protagonist's story to a far more logical, satisfying and shocking conclusion. On the base, sensational end of the spectrum, TV's "Cleveland Abduction." Find "Room" between the two. Either a good movie-of-the-week or poor indie sidestepping, and in some ways trivializing, a horrific subject.

    Watch "Stockholm, Pennsylvania" instead.
  • jaxorama-148-96288227 December 2015
    Totally avoidable
    This is one of those movies that the IMDb rating tricks you into believing is better than it actually is. The IMDb synopsis also makes you believe that you are being taken on a journey - of the struggles of being held captive, into the psyche of the captor, of the innocence of childhood, of motherly love that triumphs. You probably imagine some sort of "Life is Beautiful" unfolding in a room. But NO! Be warned. This movie is about an annoying kid and his annoyed mom stuck in a room. They both manage to escape the room and guess what? They continue to be annoying and annoyed. The characters are so completely one dimensional, the movie fails to both entertain or be insightful. You end up feeling stuck with the characters in this 2 hour long ordeal. Like someone dragging a fingernail on a chalkboard. The quickly made TV documentaries after kidnapped victims are rescued (as in the case of Elizabeth Smart or Amanda Berry) look like Oscar winning stories in contrast and are actually watchable. This movie is plain painful to watch.
  • CineCritic251722 February 2016
    Boring and nonsensical
    Warning: Spoilers
    A woman and her son are held in a garden shed, referred to as 'room', by a man who uses the woman as his sex slave, having abducted her 7 years earlier. The woman concocts a plan to smuggle the son out in order for him to find help and free them. After the plan is successfully executed, we follow the two in the aftermath of the ordeal, struggling to retrieve the life that was previously stolen from her.

    The film is repetitive and annoying. At no point is the captivity nor the woman's response to the situation believable. It's just a garden shed located in some suburb instead of underground. The woman's not shackled and can virtually escape every time the captor enters the room.

    Relying on child actors is a notoriously shaky endeavour and again the constant whining of the kid and the way it talks, is grating and tiresome. There also seems to be no real connect between the first and second act. The 7 years she previously spent in the room might just as well have been a written premise at the start of the film. With no deeper layers to the film and with no character really fleshed out, the film feels aimless and not well thought-through.

  • Rendanlovell29 December 2015
    Room is not as good as everyone says it is.
    Room stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. It offers Larson her best performance of her career and Tremblay a break out role. While he may not quite get past the whole "kid actor" stereotype he is admittedly better than almost every other child actor out there today. Both of these actors are receiving some serious awards buzz right now, as is this film in general. This may be due to the odd nature of its plot line. A mother and child are stuck inside a room for at least five years of their lives. Trapped inside never once going out to see or experience the world. So, when they get out we watch as this child gets to see everything for the first time.

    Yes it's an interesting plot that hasn't really been done before but it can't really pull it off. It's odd that it struggles so bad with making this a worthy adaption of the book seeing as the author actually wrote the film. Much like last years 'Gone Girl'. However 'Gone Girl' actually had a good director.

    The one other film this director had done was 'Frank'. So I had high hopes for this film. Unfortunately, he may have proved to us that he is a one hit wonder. Because this film is not near as good as everyone is saying. This mainly steams from sloppy writing. Writing that would've probably worked in a book format. In that format you are able to show characters thoughts and feelings far easier than in film so you have to write accordingly.

    But this doesn't happen. This is really the only reason this film fails. But it fails hard. From the first scenes of the film it was pretty clear that not enough thought went into making this a piece of cinema. Characters actions and reactions to everything feel absurdly artificial. Like a cop figuring out where the room they lived in was from one extremely vague sentence. Or how the film seems to pretend like these two had never made one single escape attempt.

    Literally the second escape they try gets them out. I couldn't help think that they had never actually tried, because the guy didn't even hesitate to buy into their trick. In fact not one person in this film reacts naturally. Everyone was an extreme version of a normal person and it made nearly everyone in the film super unlikable. Especially the main two characters. They did virtually nothing aside from scream at whoever they wanted for no apparent reason.

    Almost every conversation ended in an annoying screaming match between random people. A screaming match that either made no sense or just made you dislike the characters. So, when these two get out it's hard to legitimately care about them. You don't know anything about them other then the fact that they liked yelling for no reason.

    'Room' may have strong performances and an interesting idea to back it up but not much else. It has a hard time making you actually care about its characters. No one reacts like a human being but instead yells at each other when ever they feel like they need to. It wastes its best qualities with a limp and lifeless script that fails to appropriately adapt the acclaimed novel.
  • dragline8221 January 2016
    Unintentionally insulting
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is the movie that happens every year that isn't good, but wins critical acclaim by being distinct and including a child actor. It's disturbing, but without the tact required by the writing.

    Now to spoil things. A woman is held hostage as a sex slave for seven years and at some point has a baby boy, who she convinces the "Room" is the entire world. During this they play uplifting music and it is absolutely tonally daft. Once they escape Room they are better off. Then, "Ma" feels bad about how horribly she treated her son and thus tries to kill herself, to make it all better.

    Also, the boy in this movie looks and sounds exactly like a girl and has long hair. So I'm expecting maybe "Ma" lied that it was a boy, so her kid wouldn't be a rape target. Nope. Toward the end you realize it's a boy, and you go, "Whoa, why was I distracted by that for absolutely no reason?"

    Then, they revisit Room. And Ma feels better. Because going to where you were repeated raped for seven years makes you happy. Absurd, ridiculous, fantastical film that is unintentionally insulting.
  • b_velkova31 March 2016
    Overly unrealistic and lacking depth
    Warning: Spoilers
    The movie has its moving moments, especially the emblematic one with the kid staring in awe at the newly discovered world, but that's about it. The story is overly unrealistic and both the psychological drama and the physical misery lack depth.

    17-year-old girl is kidnapped with the lure that some sick dog needs her attention. This is followed by 7 years of imprisonment in a backyard shed (the so-called "Room") and regular raping, which – in the second year – produces a child. The mother accepts the fruit of the relationship (named Jack) without reservations and from that moment on her only goal is to keep it safe. A goal in which she succeeds with flying colors. And so, no matter his complete isolation, the misery of his existence, and the fact that he is a constant, although unconscious, witness of his mother's abuse, at 5 Jack is both mentally and physically healthy, even happy child, he has smooth skin and complex reactions and the only sign of his unusual circumstances is his long hair...

    I didn't even have to use irony – the whole thing is flat enough on its own. Actually, I see it as an insult to anyone who have lived through "the Room trauma" – be it real, or more metaphoric. It sets ridiculous standards for the victims while what they truly need is understanding and compassion. But yeah, let's say that mother's love conquers it all and clap our hands.
  • TheLittleSongbird2 February 2018
    Claustrophobic beauty
    That review summary may sound very oxymoronic, but to me it applies to a film such as 'Room'. A film with a difficult subject, that is the stuff of nightmares, but tells it so beautifully with an interesting approach that works better than all the potential traps that films of its genre could fall under.

    What could have easily have been told in a lurid, gratuitous way (being inspired by the true-life case of Josef Fritzl) is instead told in a careful and restrained way. There is even an innocence in 'Room', due to its very fascinating decision to tell it from the viewpoint of a five year old, in this case Jack, one that comes off very movingly and gives a sense that there is a little ray of hope in a seemingly hopeless situation. The source material, equally brilliant, is to be thanked here, its author Emily Donoghue adapts it to screen here and none of its power is lost.

    Really appreciated the careful and restrained approach to the storytelling in 'Room', and for me and many others it was something different considering the subject. It does though affect some of the pacing in the middle act, where a little of the tension seen in especially the first part is lost a little.

    For my tastes too, though it probably did fit the film's younger and more innocent viewpoint it's told from, the music score does lay it on too thick with the treacle.

    However, loved how the story was told and its approach. What 'Room' also strongly benefitted from being told this way was that the mother and son relationship was able to shine through and really resonate, which it may not have done as effectively with a heavier tone. And shine through it does, with great charm and poignancy. Also appreciated that none of the characters were painted too black and white, even Old Nick.

    Production values are effectively claustrophobic and the nocturnal parts chillingly nightmarish. 'Room' is beautifully directed by someone who understood how claustrophobic thrillers worked, how mother and son bonds do in dire situations do and the ability to combine both to ensure a powerful experience. A directing job that's both unsettling and empathetic. Similarly 'Room' is written with effortless skill and deft thoughtfulness.

    Can't find anything to fault the performances. The superb one of Brie Larson, that was a very worthy Oscar (Golden Globe and Bafta too) win in her category, is an obvious starting point, but one mustn't overlook the beyond-his-years turn of young Jacob Tremblay, one of the best child acting performances in recent years, and William H Macy and Joan Allen both giving some of their best work in years. Sean Bridgers also gives much more to what could have been a standard cliché role.

    Overall, great powerful film but the somewhat fascinatingly unconventional (for the genre) way the story was told won't work for some. 9/10 Bethany Cox
  • dragonslayer-879506 June 2016
    Not Sure If It's Worth All The Praise And The Nominations???
    Warning: Spoilers
    I hope the book is better than the movie....

    SPILOERS ALERT: 1= This story is told n the kids POV at first glance it might not be the best idea, because really this story is all about the mother decent (more on that later) but somehow it works out.

    2= The camera is sort of shaky and gritty I guess it fits at first for the beginning while they are still held captive in the room. Not only to make you feel like you're in the movie but also to force you to feel what both of them are going through and to also to sit the mood I guess.

    3=I simply don't get it if the captive mother (Joy) has a knife why wouldn't she just simply use it to force their way out. And why would the captor give his captive victim a knife in the first place, spectrally when clearly she hasn't yet lost all hope? Huh?! No not just a knife but why not just grab an thing to use as a weapon. Even before when she got pregnant, sure she tried once before but why wouldn't she just try again? Again huh? 4= There is a great Mother/Son sit up unfortunately they missed that up, yes at first in the beginning they did have a great relationship but for most of the time they mainly just yell and scream at each other. In addition I just don't get the kid's (Jake's) seemingly erratic mood swings. OK I get it he's frighten in beginning because all he knows is the Room, and now all of sudden his mother is telling him about life outside the Room, but even after when he and his mother were rescued he still remained bratty and having all of these erratic mood swings. I simply just don't get that.

    5= The night scenes are simply just way too dark to see anything now, I'm not sure if that was the attent or what, but in either case for that simply just cheapens the movie. And this is coming from someone that just sits in his dark room from time to time with little to no light being lighting the room from an outside source. And even that I could still see shapes of objects, but with this movie I don't know what was going even with sound.

    6= There is a poor sit up of the Kidnapper (old Nick), somehow feel his character just wasn't fleshed out enough.

    7= I feel the second attempt at escape wasn't will planned out enough, and what I mean by that is that they were so busy planning out the main plain they forgot t plain out the Plain 'B'.

    8= I just don't have any emonal or any kind of connection towards or against anyone in the film, which is too bad because I love Mother/Child Relationships. And speaking of I'm simply not sure if anyone in this movie is truly likable.

    9= At times during the movies I feel that it's simply too long. I often find myself thinking during the movie 'This movie is simply too long it should only be a 90min movie. And not a 2hr movie.' 10= However I do feel that there is a lot of plot holes in the movie: What happen to Old Nick. Did the dog ate him? Is Jake home schooled or does go to public school? Etc... but I guess those are just simply 'minor' plot holes.

    11= The good points: is that I do like almost everything that happens in the Room before the escape. Also I do like the music that went along with the escape. In addition I do also like the descent into depression of Joy (Mother) after when she was rescued. Finally, finally only at the end where the Mother comes back from what we can assume 'getting help' just after trying to kill herself some time after being rescued. They finally, finally show this excellent Mother/Son relationship in some kind of mini montage. All leading up to this neat and interesting ending (which I will not ruin for you).

    CP: I'm not sure the ending itself is enough to redeem it , but however I am wandering should I have waited to buy?
  • pwiener-592-55277817 November 2015
    It doesn't get any worse
    It opens badly, but this is deceptive. If you watch carefully, are very, very patient, look at what's actually there, and give it three minutes-----it gets worse. But wait. This too is unfair. Are you actually seeing what's in front of your eyes? Are you sure? The film demands that you give it at least another ten minutes, and you do. And as soon as you do, it gets worse. After that it gets worse, and then worse, and worse, and worse. And it's only just begun. The setting hasn't even left the room. Then it does. Finally. Surprise! A goodly portion of the film, in fact, at least 30 percent, takes place outside the room. I have no idea why. To show that the outside world is just as claustrophobic? That would've been a good point, but the story doesn't allow it! The writer is adrift. The shift of scenery doesn't help. It makes Room even worse - and it gets worse yet, and even worse than that, despite the brief, welcome, charitable appearance of two superbly talented actors (William H. Macy and Joan Allen) who can actually act, whether they have a character to play or not. Acting, in fact, is not an issue in the movie. To be fair, the child star of the film, Jacob Tremblay (made deliberately genderless as only a 5-year-old could be) gives as execrable a performance as any adult ever has, and deserves a lot of credit for it. If the director intended it that way, he probably either has no children, or doesn't know or like any. It's not totally Tremblay's fault: he obviously found it impossible to believe in the story, as did the writer, director, actors and producers who concocted this infinitely boring, one-dimensional, unfelt drama. Here and there throughout the story, that sickly, treacly piano that has invaded the soundtrack of hundreds of anemic films like a skin rash makes an appearance. To top it off, Room is made with the highest of production values. They are the only values visible, and may lift the movie to the heights of Trumpian emptiness. Americans love nothing better in their movies: production values are the new family values. The overall impression is of a movie, clunkily directed by Lenny Abrahamson, written by someone (Emma Donoghue) whose entire experience of life must have been acquired in a room, probably a classroom, possibly a cloakroom, a writer unashamed to display her bad handwriting, and constitutionally unable or unwilling to share with the public how little she knows or cares about the world she inhabits. A lot has been written about the hell the cinematographers went through to make parts of this movie, jamming their equipment into a tiny cramped space for countless hours. It doesn't show, and what does is not interesting. If they'd shown us the hell, and not the Room they made of it, I'd have had a lot less to say but would've left with more than a craving for a quick burger on my mind.
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