Room ★★★★

"There is an endearing tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that transcends all other affections of the heart."

- Washington Irving

If there is any affection that I have for Lenny Abrahamson's Room, it is inspired by the tenderness of the mother-son relationship that is so beautifully and soulfully acted by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. While Room is by no means a technical marvel, the compelling performances from its lead and supporting actors, as well as some of its poetic narrative elevate it from average to memorable.

The name of the room where Ma and Jack are contained is not referred to as "a room," but simply called "Room." Room is a universe in itself, as it represents the bounds of Jack's knowledge and experience. His reality does not extend beyond Room, but instead is contained within it. Throughout the film, we begin to see both of the main characters struggle to come to terms with their changing realities as their understanding of what is real expands beyond the limits of "Room."

Emma Donaghue writes her characters beautifully, contrasting moments of unbearable anguish with moments of awe-inspiring joy. The film is filled with juxtapositions: innocence and trauma, togetherness and separation, sacrifice and selfishness, love and indifference. Just like the skylight, which serves as a symbol of hope in the film, we are given enough hope to carry us through the film's darkest moments.

I like Josh Larsen's words in his comment about the film:

Feels like most of the movie's power comes from its scenario, rather than the filmmaking.

I would extend that by saying that while most of of the movie's power does come from its scenario, it is strengthened by the chemistry and affecting performances from its leads.

Get the Kleenex box out for this one.

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