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Room: A Movie of Tragedy and Recuperation of the Human Spirit

Natalie Kahn ’19

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Five-year old Jack has lived in a tiny one-room garden shack his entire life. He calls the shed “Room,” but Jack believes that Room is the world in its entirety. What he does not know is that his mother has been held captive for seven years by a man who abducted her when she was only seventeen-years old, and Jack himself is imprisoned. However, when Jack’s mother finally breaks the truth to him about the world, he and his mother struggle to devise a plan to escape so that Jack can see the world outside of Room for himself. In a story of tremendous courage, Jack and his mother gain their freedom and grapple with the challenges they face due to being hidden from the real world for so long.

The movie begins with the details of the lives of Jack and his mother in the shed. Joy, Jack’s mother, has him say good morning to all of the objects in Room each morning, tells him endless fairytales and stories of novels that she has read, celebrates birthdays with him, makes art with him, and teaches him to distract himself so he does not understand that their captor, “Big Nick” as they call him, has enslaved them both. However, most importantly, she creates an entire alternate universe for Jack to keep him content.

Brie Larson as Joy gives an outstanding and nearly flawless performance, definitely worthy of her Academy Award, filled with the depression and nightmares depicting Joy’s attempt to recover from seven years of horror and captivity. She is a passionate and loving mother, always trying to think first for her son and trying to deceive her son into believing that Room really is the entire world, clever when she devises a plan for she and Jack to be able to escape, and angry and frustrated with the world and the nightmares she encounters both during and after her imprisonment.

Jacob Tremblay as fiveyear old Jack has incredible presence for such a young age. He beautifully portrays a young boy, curious but oblivious to the world. He is smart but stubborn and allows the audience to understand that he is very much traumatized by everything that has happened to him but also is willing to learn about and accept the new world that is unveiled to him.

The movie’s dark setting with continually rainy skies and a cold, colorless home that Joy and Jack return to only further emphasize the depression that Joy faces, and frankly, the sadness that I felt watching her suffer. The movie forces the audience to feel emotional during the emotional scenes, tremble in suspense during intense scenes, and smile during the occasional happy or hopeful scene. It also does a good job of not overdoing it with violence or disturbing images and making it a psychological film rather than a thriller, but there are still no dull moments throughout the entire film that is nearly two hours.

A story that is deeply moving, evokes tremendous emotion, and informs us about the human condition after experiencing terrible trauma, Room is a must-see for everyone.

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The student newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School