I’ve been spending the summer at my aunt’s house in Washington, D.C. and my “room” for these past few months has been the basement. Basements are apparently a normal occurrence on this side of the country, but as a native Californian, I have a distinct repulsion to them. I don’t like the tiny slits for windows, or the way I can hear everyone’s footsteps above my head.
Something I do like is the solitude. That feeling of distinct aloneness – like my own little cave. And it was here, one afternoon, that I splayed across the pull-out bed and took a few hours out of my lazy Monday to watch Lenny Abrahamson’s Room (2015), the story of a mother and son – held captive for years in a shed before finally getting their freedom just to realize life isn’t perfect on the outside either.
Yes, Brie Larson is moving and real in this film, but most of my interest came from watching Jacob Tremblay and thinking how exciting it’s going to be to watch his career unfold in the years to come. Telling the story from his child’s perspective gives it an air of wonder and innocence, a particular way of looking at this dark, wrenching story that gives you some lift, a childlike resilience to the things that unfold.
Another thing I appreciated most were those moments of stillness – glances exchanged, characters sitting quietly about their day, seconds of quiet that let us soak in this world – a world we take for granted every day, but a world this child has never seen before.
What else is there to say about this film that critics haven’t already noted? It’s touching and has a lot to say about pain and learning how to heal after a crisis. It’s cathartic in the way films like this are, letting us live through a family’s time of hurt into hope.
Check out Room – and don’t forget your box of tissues.