TIFF 2015: ‘Room’ Is A tense, gripping emotional roller-coaster

Based on Irish author Emma Donaghue’s best-selling novel of the same name (she also adapted the screenplay for the film), Room was by far my favourite film screened at TIFF this year.

Coming off his independent film, Frank (which starred talented fellow Irishmen Michael Fassbender and Domhnall Gleeson), director Lenny Abrahamson was tasked with helping bring this iconic story to life and from what I saw, he surpassed any expectations that people may have had for this film.

Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as Jack in Room. (Courtesy of Elevation Pictures)

The film’s plot (for those who haven’t read the book) centres on a young mother, Joy/Ma and her son, Jack, as they are trapped inside a shed that is only known to Jack by the name ‘room’ of the past seven years. I don’t know how Joy was able to survive alone those first two years, but it is immediately evident that when Jack came along, he gave this young mother a reason to live.

Just like the book, the film is told from the perspective of five-year-old Jack, played eloquently by Canada’s own Jacob Tremblay. The eight-year-old is relatively new on the screen, but you would never know that this is one of his first feature films.

There is no escaping the grim, upsetting subject matter. However, seeing the small single-roomed outbuilding through the eyes of Jack, makes you feel a tinge of hope. From start to finish I was captured by the youngster’s performance as Jack, who believes that there is nothing outside “room” – until he finally has the chance to get out into the world.

Jacob Tremblay as Jack and Brie Larson as Ma in Room. (Courtesy of Elevation Pictures)

There are so many feelings that I felt while watching Ma/Joy, portrayed by Brie Larson; you can’t help but get emotional as you watch and feel a part of her silent suffering after being kidnapped, raped and trapped in ‘room’ for years by Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). She must be strong for her son and the love she had for him is absolute, but she struggles (mainly internally) with escaping the life she’s confined to in room.

Larson’s performance is captivating and throughout the film, you can feel all of her ups and downs as if they were your very own. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room as the life she has with Jack progressed beautifully on-screen.

The film was a tense, gripping, and emotional roller-coaster that I never wanted to get off of. It is definitely a movie I plan on watching again once it’s released. Please check out this film if you get the chance, it really is amazing and the performances are out of this world.

Check out the Q&A gallery with the director of Room, Lenny Abrahamson, below.

*Please note: Room won the 2015 Grolsch People’s Choice Award at TIFF.

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