Emma Donoghue’s novel Room became a best selling hit shortly after hitting the shelves. The story, told from the perspective of 5 year-old Jack, paints a vivid picture of the unknown nightmare he is living.
The next step for Donoghue? To capture in this captivating story and find a way to bring the story to life on the big screen. And that she did.
Donoghue, Lenny Abrahamson, Brie Larson, and Jacob Tremblay together make up the dream team that created Room. Abrahamson is the mastermind director bringing Donoghue along for the ride as the screenwriter. Larson and Tremblay complete the puzzle that is Room by playing the unconditional loving pair that is Jack and Ma.
Jack is completely oblivious to the outside world. After being kidnapped by Old Nick, Ma was forced to create a world for her and Jack, when he came along two years later, in the 11-by-11 space they are confined to.
Together they spend every waking minute in Room. Every item in Room serves a purpose. There’s Table, Sink, and Bed. These object are not just objects to Jack, but rather friends. They make the best out of dreadful situation by taking care of each other. They run, play games, and even get to celebrate Jack’s 5th birthday with some cake. Jack day-to-day doesn’t change, even the habit of locking himself in wardrobe each night when Old Nick stops by to visit Ma. It’s obvious to the outside viewers what it going on, but Jack is a naive child, unknown about what lies outside of the shack he is stuck in.
Ma finally decides it is time for Jack to learn about how she landed in Room. Slowly she explains her story and tells him about the outside world, like how some of the things they see on TV are real. Jack has a very hard time grasping this concept and doesn’t want to know more. Still, Ma knows its time to make an escape plan. Jack is getting older and once Ma learned about Old Nick’s job loss and finical situation, she knew it was time.
Already reading the book, I was prepared for what came next. Regardless, it is still one of the most suspenseful moments in a film this year.
Ma devises a plan where she fakes the death of Jack and rolls him up in Rug. She tells Old Nick he needs to take him away, bury him in a nice place. Old Nick takes the bait and begins the most suspenseful car ride of little Jack life.
Jack manages to get out only by the skin of his teeth. The plan somehow worked. Ma and Jack have a super emotional reunion, giving them a new chance at a life she thought she would never get back.
The film continues on to show how difficult it is for Ma to get her life together, but it is really Jack who steals the show during the whole film. Abrahamson found a true gem in Tremblay. He doesn’t miss a beat and brings joy to a story that has lost a lot of hope. Together his relationship with Ma gives off tremendous feeling and emotions that only Larson and Tremblay could create. Donoghue’s story was a difficult read and a challenge for any filmmaker to take on. Together with his main players, Abrahamson was able to pull it off.
Larson has already won a slew of awards this season for her role as Ma. She also picked up best actress nominations for the SAGs, Golden Globes, and Critics Choice. She is also on the short list for an Oscar nomination and has a pretty decent shot at walking away with the award that night. Tremblay scored himself a SAG award nomination, while Abrahamson managed to get Room on the AFI Top 10 List, a Critics Choice, and a Golden Globe nod.
Together this foursome is unstoppable.