For a film with a subject so grim and horrific, Room is remarkably uplifting.

Room takes the premise that is usually seen in a thriller, and makes an exquisite drama about it. It goes beyond showing a series of events, delving deeper and exploring its main characters’ trauma and how they cope. This makes the movie one of the few each year that provide a compelling and enduring experience.

Five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) has lived all his years confined to a tiny room, where he lives with his mother (Brie Larson). With just a TV and a skylight being his exposure to the outsde, and a TV to Jack grows up believing that the world is just within the four walls of the room. As prisoners to a man who had kidnapped Ma when she was a teenager, they live a symbiotic life with Ma nurturing Jack with love and care. But how does Jack cope with something he didn’t know existed – the outside world?

Based on a book of the same name by Emma Donoghue, director Lenny Abrahamson crafts a truly human story. By moving a standard third-act finale to the middle of the film, Room gets to explore what comes for Jack and Ma beyond the physical escape. Told primarily from Jack’s point of view, we get to behold a child’s fascination with the world, one he never knew existed. We see him go from rejection, to curiosity, to fascination – quite oblivious to the ordeal that he and his mother have lived through. Brie Larson is exemplary as the mother, being equal parts protective, caring, possessive as well as tortured and traumatized. Jacob Tremblay is equally impressive as Jack. As the primary focus of the movie, a wrong performance by Jacob would leave the movie in shambles. He does a tremendous job of making the movie work.

For a film with a subject so grim and horrific, Room is remarkably uplifting. It asks some very basic but important questions about life, hope, and parenthood, answering some and letting the audience ponder on others.

Rating: ★★★★½

About Shariq Madani

Shariq is a social, talkative, fun-loving guy who enjoys books, food and a long drive. But his real joy is in the comfortable darkness of a cinema, watching a good movie, and later spending hours discussing it.