The less you know about Room going in, the better. There are intense performances and disturbing revelations that make for a unique viewing experience from a story adapted for the screen by author Emma Donoghue from her award winning bestselling novel.

Filmed in Toronto, Room is an intimate psychological drama that puts us inside the mind of a 5 year-old child who has never seen anything beyond the walls of his room. He was born there and lives in Room with his mother. The room is all he knows and he is happy playing with his imagination and his Ma who is always with him. He even calls the world he lives in Room.

Room won the People’s choice award at this year’s recent TIFF40 (Toronto International Film Festival) and got overwhelming positive responses from audiences who saw it.

Jack’s mother keeps him busy with daily routines and teaches him to read and write, and about everything in the world. But Jack believes these are just made up stories that aren’t real. They couldn’t be real because he’s never actually seen any of those things in his room.

We only begin to realize what is happening when a man arrives in the room. Old Nick occasionally visits the room for a short while to bring food and toys, and takes mother with him to the bed. During this time Jack must hide in Closet until Old Nick leaves. This all seems fairly normal to Jack who has never known different.

One day when she feels Jack is old enough, Ma tells him that it’s time to leave Room, that there’s more behind the walls of Room and that the stories she told him are all true. Jack is curious but likes his room and is scared of leaving it. His mother knows that the world is much bigger because she was not always in Room. She grew up in the world and has been in Room since she was a teenager seven years ago.

Room explores the traumatic psychological effects of prolonged forced physical confinement and how as children we can adjust more easily to our environment no matter how difficult and deprived it may be. 

Abduction and its traumatic effect on the victims are not often talked about. This film delves into the issues of abduction from the victim’s point of view. Telling the story from the child’s perspective gives the film an added emotional dimension of fear and tension.

With Irish director Lenny Abrahamson’s skillful guidance and collaboration with the author/screenwriter, this Irish/Canadian production feels immediate and relevant in its portrayal of the powerful subject matter.

Ma, played by Brie Larson, and Jack who is portrayed by Jacob Tremblay, have a real intimate and honest chemistry that lends itself to a powerful and truthful performance as mother and son who in many ways need each other to survive.

Room grapples with some difficult and disturbing subject matter in a positive way that feels uplifting and inspirational. Audiences have come away from the experience of the film with appreciative and emotional reactions, which is a testament to the dedicated cast and filmmakers and attests to its status as the People’s Choice award winner in Toronto.


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