Running time: 1 hour, 57 minutes
Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Room is a gut-wrenching story about Ma, a young mother (Brie Larson) in her mid-twenties who is being held captive in a shed with her five-year old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Her abductor routinely shows up to bring her supplies and groceries, and eventually Ma and Jack devise an escape plan.
Ma and Jack live in a shed with no windows. Their only source of light is a skylight which doesn’t allow them to see what’s outside of their living space. No matter where you stand, everything is within a few feet of you. The yellowed kitchen sink is crammed against a moldy bathtub that sits next to the toilet. A bed and a wardrobe barely fit into the room. One thing that is rarely shown is the heavy door that locks the mother and son in the room. There’s a key pad but naturally Ma does not know the combination. Every few days Ma’s abductor stops by for a visit, which includes spending the night with Ma while Jack sleeps in the wardrobe.
Why in the world would I see this movie?
This movie would not go over well as a family viewing or as a first date dinner/movie combo. The premise is immediately depressing and I actually avoided this until Brie Larson won the 2016 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. So after I saw this movie I came up with three quick reasons to check it out:
- This isn’t what you think it is. To keep this spoiler-free, I will tell you this is not a claustrophobic thriller that has you holding your breath until the very end. It is much gentler because:
- There’s a deep, intense bond between mother and son. The characters’ captivity often takes a backseat to the story of a mother and child. Ma finds clever ways to keep her son healthy and imaginative, and as a result he loves their room even though it’s a simmering nightmare for her. What really makes this a tearjerker is that:
- The story is largely told from Jack’s point of view. Something interesting happens here because Ma was a teenager when she was kidnapped, so she knows there is a life outside of the shed. Jack was born in the shed and it’s all he knows. He draws at the kitchen table, watches TV, plays on the floor with his imaginary friends and is a happy five-year old. In his mind, there is nothing outside of the four walls and he fights with his mother when she explains the escape plan to him.
About the actors
Brie Larson has received the bulk of praise as Ma, and she did a great job with blending helplessness, resentment, and maternal love in such a realistic way. Jacob Tremblay was a great choice to portray Jack, who unwittingly moves the plot along and also injects enough ‘Kids Say the Darnedest Things’ humor into the story to keep it from being too depressing.
You may have heard or noticed that Joan Allen and William H. Macy play Ma’s parents, and I would’ve liked to see Allen receive some nominations for her role as a distraught mother/grandmother who doesn’t know what to do, what to say, or how to react to some of the events in the movie.
I always discuss the length of the movie in each of my reviews. Look, I have stuff to do! I can’t spend all freaking day watching a never-ending movie, especially if the movie isn’t good enough to go the distance.
So, at almost two hours long there were a couple of times when I felt the plot was dragging a bit. I felt the second half felt aimless at times but then it straightened out and finished very well.
I don’t think this movie should win ‘Best Picture’ at the Oscars but I do think it’s worth a viewing at the movie theater.
Have you seen Room? Let me know what you think!
Cyrus has Charlie, his hitman, search Jake’s background. Meanwhile, Fitz wants to know who leaked the hostage information but Jake isn’t offering up any names.
David Rosen goes home and his apartment is trashed. He hides while the person in his apartment walks out. He starts sleeping at Liv’s office.
Quinn and Huck are trailing Osborne. He hasn’t made a drop in a whole week, and they’ve been made. Osborne goes to Liv’s apartment to confront her about being followed. Jake was watching but his feed cut off.
Client of the Week: Hollis Doyle and his ex-wife Debra. Their daughter Maybelle has been kidnapped. They watch a ransom video where Maybelle holds up a sign with banking routing information. Her captors want $20 million, but Hollis won’t pay because he thinks Maybelle is scheming to get millions of dollars from him.
Huck and Quinn are studying the ransom video and Quinn picks up some clues: sun coming in from the west, possibly a warehouse turned residential home, it’s near the Metro, etc.
Mellie is freaking out about Jake Ballard and Cyrus says he’s looking into it but he doesn’t know anything yet. He says, “Like a friend of mine likes to say, ‘It’s handled!'”
Jake watches the exchange between Osborne and Liv that he missed earlier. He sees her hide a notepad, and then she hides a USB drive in a vase.
At Pope Headquarters, Hollis’ assistant arrives with lunch and a package. Inside the package is a severed ear. Hollis keeps eating. He doesn’t believe it belongs to Maybelle until a picture shows up that confirms her ear is gone. He cries and agrees to send the ransom money.
Mellie goes to Fitz’s secretary and has her un-clear his weekend schedule.
Jake calls Olivia to see if she wants to grab lunch. She says no because she’s at work, and he knows it’s safe to break into her apartment. He takes some files from the USB drive that she hid, and then he fixes the signal to the surveillance cameras that he planted in her apartment.
Jake goes to Fitz with information about Osborne being the mole. He says he saw Osborne threaten his source and Fitz believes him.
Cyrus meets Charlie, who tells him how Jake and Fitz know each other. Then Cyrus confronts Fitz in his office. He finds out something happened in Iran when Fitz was still in the Navy. Cyrus makes the point that they both did things that were wrong, but they did it to protect the “republic”. This gets him back into the inner circle and Fitz talks to him about Osborne. Mellie is eavesdropping.
Quinn is listening to Hollis cry and talk about his love for his daughter. Maybelle calls with a location of where to meet, and Olivia, Quinn, and Huck go pick her up and take her to the hospital. Maybelle says her ex-boyfriend Justin kidnapped her and took the money.
Cyrus calls Olivia with plans to meet up for glasses of wine and she declines because she has a date with Jake. She starts thinking about Fitz and decides to cancel the date. When Jake arrives she tells him that she’s not over her ex and she needs time. He kisses her.
Huck starts analyzing the ear and he notices the incision is weird. He said it’s jagged, like she cut her own ear off. Harrison says Justin has been in a Thai jail and could not have kidnapped her.
Maybelle comes clean about faking her kidnapping and cutting off her ear to collect $20 million. Hollis says she can stay with the family and they’ll work out their issues or she can take the money and run. She’d rather have the money and Hollis says he’ll wire it to her.
Huck overhears Quinn leaving a voicemail on her father’s phone. She wants to re-unite with him.
Osborne is very upset because his office and home are being searched. He visits Cyrus and insists he’s not the mole.
Fitz yells at Mellie when he finds out she canceled their children’s visit to the White House. She says the kids didn’t want to come because Fitz has changed and he’s been mean to them. Also, he reeks of liquor. She says it’s not Defiance that he’s truly upset about. She says ‘You found your previous Olivia doesn’t have the secrets of the universe tucked between her magical thighs.’ She tells him that he’s turned into his father, Big Jerry.
Olivia and the team find out Osborne is dead from an apparent suicide (gunshot to the head). Jake and some guy are sitting down on a bench, and the guy compliments Jake for the following: framing Osborne as the mole and making Osborne’s death look like a homicide.