‘Room’ a mesmerizing, highly charged feature

By Bob Bloom

“Room” is an emotionally charged experience that will leave you thunderstruck and wanting to stay in your seat for a second viewing.

The first half of “Room,” based on the best-seller by Emma Donoghue, is a claustrophobe’s nightmare.

It also is a deeply moving movie that looks at the infinite and boundless love between a protective mother and son trapped in a hellish situation.

Ma (Brie Larson) has been kept by Old Nick, who kidnapped her seven years earlier, in a 10-foot square shed. During that time, he continually raped her, and Ma gave birth to a son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who is now 5 years old.

The shed is the only world Jack knows, and Ma tries to make his life there as normal as possible.

Director Lenny Abrahamson reinforces that by shooting much of the film from Jack’s perspective. Because the shed is his entire existence, it appears bigger to him, though to Ma and us, it is small and cramped.

I will not delve too much into the plot for fear of spoiling the film for those who have not read the book.

The foundation of “Room” is built on the relationship and performances of Larson and young Tremblay.

In what she knows is a horrific situation, Ma does all she can to make life as normal as possible for her son. But, at times, she gets angry and frustrated — and when she loses her temper and shouts, so does Jack, which immediately forces Ma to regain her composure so she can keep her and Jack on an even keel.

Larson gives a magnificent performance that is matched by Tremblay, especially when both have to adapt to new circumstances in their lives.

As “Room” progresses, Larson’s Ma begins to disintegrate emotionally and mentally, while Tremblay displays the strength and fortitude that Jack uses to help Ma regain her equilibrium.

The special bond between Ma and Jack is the emotional vise that glues you to the screen. You laugh and cry with them, fear for them and finally embrace their triumph.

“Room” is an impressive achievement, one of the best — if not the strongest — movie of the year.

“Room” is a film you will want to experience again so you can recognize the small nuances Abrahamson and his filmmaking team have created to bring you into the lives of Ma and Jack.

If there is justice in the world, Larson, Tremblay, Abrahamson and the film itself should be recognized when the Academy Award nominations are announced.

Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

4 stars out of 4
(R), language, adult and disturbing themes, sexual situations

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