Inspired by (but not based on) real events, Room is a powerful, raw, heartfelt, often horrifying, but ultimately uplifting story of a woman who was abducted, her five-year-old son, and the claustrophobic life they lead in a garden shed.
We learn their story very slowly through the first quarter of the film. “Ma” (Brie Larson) has only the most basic provisions provided by her abductor, who she calls Old Nick; but she does everything possible to ensure her child, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), is as well clothed, well fed, and well educated as he can be. Jack is a bubbly, enthusiastic, bright child, whose entire world is “Room” - he has no idea that there’s an entire world outside, as Ma tells him what he sees on TV is just in TV Land.
Until, that is, Ma decided enough is enough, and - SPOILER ALERT - formulates an escape plan. But the film is only halfway over at this point; Jack and Ma, or Joy as we learn she is called, have a lot to learn about life outside their tiny home, and about the meaning of freedom.
Both Larson and Tremblay are phenomenal: despite her worn-out look, Larson is dazzling as a scared, confused young woman who was taken away before she was even an adult, while nine-year-old Tremblay’s turn as a wide-eyed, loving, highly intelligent, utterly confused child is incredible.
This is not easy viewing; it is a harsh reminder of the evil that exists in the world. But it is also beautifully exemplifies the power of love. Bring tissues, but don’t miss it.