Room movie poster
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Room
Room movie poster

Room Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

Your movie has to be good if you're daring enough to name it Room, a title ominously close to a movie widely considered to be one of the worst movies of all time. Thankfully, Room is on the far other end of the spectrum and easily one of the best movies of 2015 so far.

Brie Larson turns in a performance that will all but guarantee her rise from indie sweetheart to mainstream star, in which she plays a young woman who was kidnapped seven years ago and has spent all her time since locked in a shed. After years of rape, she now has a five-year-old boy named Jack, played superbly by Jacob Tremblay, who literally has no comprehension of anything outside the room in which he has lived his entire life.

The movie is split into two even parts that each place unique challenges on its actors, and the filmmakers. The first half is spent entirely in the room, forcing director Lenny Abrahamson to keep the camera close and emotional tone guarded and Larsen to really explore the psychological toll placed upon her character by being locked in a small space for years--and protecting her child from a man who has absolute control over them both. Larsen is incredible, but it's in the second half where she truly blooms, as the true ramifications of her character's confinement bubbles to the surface.

Roomis simultaneously simple and complex, and the filmmakers balance its two aspects extremely well. The only things that keep Room from being a top contender is that it begins to drag near the end--as the movie shifts away from literal storytelling to the psychological, Abrahamson struggles just ever so slightly to keep the narrative flowing, and to identify a proper conclusion. The ending as is feels a little unrealistic, an opt for tidiness versus a recognition of how the characters would really act (spoiler: there is no way she would ever step back into that room!)--strange given that the entire movie is so focused on that very thing.

Room stumbles toward the end, but thanks to incredible performances by Brie Larsen and Jacob Tremblay and a powerful, moving story, it still stands among the best movies of the year.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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