Posted by David Marsh
What do they say, better late than never? In the following case, maybe. I just watched the movie “Room” -2015 – starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, a film that has won numerous awards including an Oscar for Brie Larson. I now see why there are so many average and even negative reviews. But first, “Room” is an extremely well crafted movie. The subject matter is disturbing and unfolds deliberately, even slowly, as the two lead actors pull you into their bleak world. Larson plays Joy, an abducted woman—taken seven years prior, at seventeen. Now with a five-year old son named Jack, fathered by her abductor who still repeatedly rapes her, Joy and her son are imprisoned in one room, that houses a tub, toilet, stove, an old TV, and rodents on the floor. I’m not going into elaborate story details here, as there are so many existing reviews that have covered this ad infinitum. “Room” is structured as most feature films are, in three parts, however they are strangely time-alloted. The first parts deals with Joy and Jack living in squalor, and it’s very detailed. The second part deals with escape; and it provides the only nail-biting tense moments of the entire film. But the movie then morphs into a drama of trashed lives, focusing heavily on guilt and shame. And oh boy, some of this stuff is really top-heavy. It’s one thing when your father can’t even glance at his grandson because he’s what, un-kosher, fathered by a rapist, a symbol of pain, or whatever, but when the mother/grandmother can’t hold her lip and engages in a vituperative row with her daughter —for God’s sake the poor girl’s only just got home— and then moments later a TV show host (think Diane Sawyer) interviews Joy and asks the most insensitive series of questions: “didn’t you think of giving up Jack when he was born?” the question’s purpose designed to promote Joy’s feelings of guilt, I just about couldn’t take any more. Come on, film makers, get real. The monster rapist would have just flushed the newborn down the lavatory. These in-your- face contrivances consume the latter part of “Room.” So on the whole, while there are excellent performances, phenomenal confinement scenes, and the last scene is poignant, what I just watched is a flawed film that was almost a masterpiece.