There is a plethora of terrific films at the multiplex these days — a well-known science fiction flick set in a galaxy far, far away not least among them. But I would urge you to eschew those big-budget thrillers and take the time to check out a small, independent film that left me and my wife in emotional tatters after we saw it.
I’m talking about the movie “Room.” And I can’t stop thinking about it.
This movie is so raw and uncompromising that it should come with a warning label. The storytelling, the script, the photography and, of course, the performances are so vivid and real that it leaves you feeling that you are watching a documentary rather than a film. The movie centers around a woman who was kidnapped off an Ohio street at the age of 17 and has been forced to live in a nondescript, backyard shed by her captor. Her captor impregnates her and she is raising a 5-year-old boy in her cell.
The movie is ripped from the headlines as we know that Ariel Castro is accused of kidnapping and holding 3 women hostage for years in Cleveland and even impregnating at least two of them, fathering one child that survived. Author Emma Donoghue wrote the book, “Room” and wrote the script for the movie. Her talent clearly knows no bounds. As does the talent of Brie Larson, who already took home a Golden Globe and is nominated for an Academy Award. The actor who plays her son, Jacob Tremblay, is superb as well.
The movie spares no emotional expense and is never put-on or contrived. It is organic, fast-paced and deeply honest. As you watch it, you have no idea what will happen to the characters and count me among the moviegoers who sees that as a lost art of storytelling.
Part of what made the movie so compelling for my wife and I is that we also have a 5-year-old son. Watching the interaction between parent and child hit us on a truly gut level. That’s what made us connect so personally with the opening scene between “Ma” and “Jack.” When the movie begins, Jack is turning 5. He’s like any child experiencing a birthday. He’s up early. He’s excited. He feels like a big boy ready for new adventures and responsibility. To learn the circumstances of his life is to feel a sadness and grief reserved for the truly tragic.
The movie launches from there and barely gives the audience time to breathe and soak in the reality “Ma” and “Jack” find themselves in before a series of life-altering events occur. It is a movie that shows the lengths a parent will go to to try and protect their children and their freedom. And at its’ most basic, the film is about the relationship between a parent and child and how no matter the circumstance, there is an unbreakable, unshakable bond that can both invigorate the spirit and provide a reason to carry on.