ByMark Varley, writer at
Watches films, writes about them, watches them again, tweets about them
Mark Varley

Plot- Imprisoned for seven years in a backyard shed, Joy has to make her room a home for five year old son Jack who has never known an outside world.

There's nothing like an indie film that breaks the shackles to become a success story. Last year was Whiplash's time in the limelight. 2016 belongs to Room.

Tackling a harrowing subject matter is no easy feat but Frank director Lenny Abrahamson portrays the horrors of forced imprisonment with a gripping narrative that carefully avoids sentimentality and celebrates the human spirit.

Room reminded me of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Both films share a child's view of a world they inhabit. We as adults understand the horror of imprisoned kidnap and the Holocaust respectively but we see both stories through a child's point of view and that is a very different viewpoint.

Room's claustrophobic first half gives way (after an incredibly suspenseful escape sequence) to a second half that explores the psychological trauma that plagues Joy after freedom is won. Since Jack has only ever known Room to be his world, it's understandable that his experience of the outside is full of wonderment. Unfortunately his discoveries are detailed through twee narration which jars with the film's tone.

With outstanding performances from Larson and Tremblay and brilliant direction from Abrahamson, Room is a thought-provoking fable about childhood innocence.


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