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TIFF 2015 Review: Room

When she was seventeen-years-old Joy (Brie Larson) was kidnapped and held captive in a windowless room, with a small skylight providing her the only sight into the outside world. After being continually raped by her captor, Joy became pregnant, giving birth to Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Now five-years-old, the precocious Jack has never had any contact with the outside world. His friends are his mother, a chair, a lamp, and a drawing of a dog. Through his voiceover, we are introduced to ROOM, which for Jack, is the entire world.

What separates ROOM from other films with similar subject matter, is that the film adheres strictly to Jack’s point-of-view. The viewer sees the world just as Jack does. This is not a place where he is being deprived a regular life, because for Jack, his life is normal. Thus, Jack’s wonderment is bittersweet, as audience members, as well as his mother, wish that he could experience the outside world.

Brie Larson anchors the film with an incredible performance as Joy, or Ma as Jack refers to her. The biggest surprise in the film comes from Jacob Tremblay. The eight-year-old Canadian actor is so damn cute and charming that it hurts. He is also incredibly skilled at playing the gifted Jack.

ROOM is the kind of film that is guaranteed to make its entire audience weep. It is both beautiful as well as heartbreaking and is sure to be among the best films at this year’s festival.

Matt Hoffman

Matthew Hoffman is a Toronto-based cinephile who especially enjoys French films and actresses over the age of 50; including but not limited to: Isabelle Huppert, Meryl Streep, and Jacki Weaver.