Film Review: ROOM

Film Review: ROOM
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
Written by Emma Donaghue (based on her novel)
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Joan Allen, William Macy

When you admire a novel, it is always a bit worrisome to watch the lights go down. When the author herself has penned the screenplay, some of those worries subside. ROOM is very nearly as good as the book. And I would say the first 45 minutes are even better.

This is thanks to the bravura performances of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.

But let me start with the plot. Ma (Brie Larson) (and I don’t remember her name and perhaps it is never used) is kidnapped at age 17. She is stuffed in a garden shed where two years later she gives birth to a boy called Jack. Ma and Jack live for five years in a shed the size of a small bedroom with only a skylight for light. Their imprisoner provides them with a scant number of clothes, foodstuff, a TV. This is much less an issue for Jack who is satisfied with the world Ma creates for him. It is only the visits from Old Nick at night (Bridgers) that spoil Jack’s Edenic life.

The second half of the movie is very different, but telling you anything would serve to spoil it. But the dreamlike quality of the first half rests on the unpalatable conditions Ma endures. So, like Jack, we must move into the everyday world Ma longs to return to.

This is a terrific movie. There is almost unbearable tension at several points. The acting by Larson and Tremblay is peerless. It is wonderfully directed. And if the tension lessens in the last half, the final scene will break your heart.

Patti Abbott
In addition to being the Crimespree Senior Film Critic, Patti has penned numerous short stories and her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, is in stores now. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.