Thursday, December 17, 2015

Room (Rhoades)

Front Row at the Movies

“Room” Will Appeal To Agoraphobiacs
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I remember seeing a news clip about a woman in Austria who’d been held captive for years in a hidden bunker. Canadian author Emma Donoghue saw the same report and used the five-year-old boy in the Fritzl case as inspiration for her novel, “Room.” After winning the Commonwealth Writers Prize and being shortlisted for some other big awards, the book was optioned for a movie.

“Room” -- directed by Lenny Abrahamson based on a script by Emma Donoghue -- is now playing at Tropic Cinema.

I’m glad I don’t suffer from claustrophobia because much of the story takes place in a small windowless room containing only a small kitchen, a bathtub, a wardrobe, a bed, and a TV set.

This is where Ma (Brie Larson) lives with her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Ma has been held captive here by Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) for seven years. The product of rape, this is the only “world” five-year-old Jack has ever known. His mother convinces him the outside world only exists on television. Little does he realize they are living their solitary existence as captives in a potting shed behind Old Nick’s house.

When Old Nick loses his job, there’s a possibility the bank will foreclose on his house. If so, Ma fears the man will kill them rather than face exposure. So she begins to plot escape.

But the question is whether she and Jack can adjust to the outside world. Or if they even want to.

You’re probably thinking this sounds like a harrowing crime drama. It is … but more than that it’s a lyrical rumination about life and freedom and strength and happiness. It’s about the dichotomy between holding on and letting go.

Brie Larson says she saw the film not as a crime tale, but “as a story of love and freedom and perseverance and what it feels like to grow up and become your own person.”

You will think about this film long after the lights go up in the theater and you step into the world outside.

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