ROOM – REVIEW – Brie Larson stars as a mother who must look after her child in almost unimaginable circumstances.

I guess it’s hard to write a review of a film like this when generally what you do is crack wise about comic book movies and try your best to get sued by Spike Lee. Brie Larson’s new film is a serious drama that takes the darkest possible situation and yet does so in such a way as to deal with the human costs. This is not the sort of maudlin wallowing in misery that can sometimes pass for realism. If anything it is about how whatever you experience becomes normal if you experience it for long enough.

Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his mother live in a small room with only a skylight and a locked door. For Jack this is his entire world and his mother has told him stories that help him cope with that world. But his mother is undergoing a terrible ordeal. She was kidnapped seven years ago and her captor rapes her on a regular basis. Jack is the product of this rape, but is also all that is good in her world and she fiercely protects him and tries to figure out a way of getting him out. Especially because as he is getting older he is becoming more vulnerable to the attentions of Old Nick, the man who brings the food and who he must remain hidden from.

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Emma Donoghue adapted from her own novel, Room shifts towards the halfway mark. It eschews the more thriller-ish angle to look at the human consequences of suffering and how we shift our own reality to protect ourselves. There are a couple of false notes, particularly in the second half of the film, but overall this is a drama that takes its subject seriously. And has forced me to take this film seriously.

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