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“Room”—No Haven or Home



Based on the searing novel by Emma Donaghue, “Room” is a movie both disturbing and compelling. For five-year-old Jack (amazing Jacob Tremblay), Room is his home, a 11 x 11 foot shed where he was born, after his teenaged mom (Brie Larson, in her Academy Award winning role)—was kidnapped, imprisoned and sexually assaulted daily by Old Nick.

Told from the little boy’s point-of-view, Jack seems unaware that Room is a prison. For Jack it is his home, a seemingly safe haven filled with all he knows and with the security of the only parent he knows. Jack’s world is exclusively his Ma and Room. They share a bed, toilet, bathtub, and old television. The only window is a small skylight. In this sealed environment, Ma heroically tries to shelter Jack from their circumstances: telling stories, creating toys from egg shells, and weaving imagination into their daily routine.  Room seems normal for Jack since he knows nothing else.

They are captives of a man they call Old Nick, Jack’s biological father, who abducted Joy seven years prior, and routinely rapes her while Jack sleeps in the wardrobe, sometimes only pretending to do so. In an interesting plot twist, Ma leads Jack to believe that Room and its contents are “real,” and that the rest of the world exists only on their television.

As a psychological thriller, Room demonstrates immense control… a cinematic pioneer focused on very brutal subject matter. As a viewer I had misgivings about witnessing the torment of a young mother and her child. However, the violence and trauma are suggested, not visual scenes, which results in an even more compelling psychological depiction of what is home, family, and survival.

A tour-de-force well worth seeing!


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