Room, director Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of the novel by Emma Donoghue, is about a woman who has been held captive in a shed for seven years with a five year old son who has never been outside of the prison he can’t quite comprehend he’s in.
When it doesn’t have you at the verge of tears it’ll have you hyperventilating.
And yet, for a film so surrounded in trauma, the backbone of Room is a an inspiring, uplifting sense of wonder. It’s the only film not produced by BBC Earth that so effectively communicates just how impressive, startling and fascinating every inch of the world around us can be when we stop and afford it a moment’s consideration.
Jack, the aforementioned son who has never been outside of a garden shed, is a breathing reminder of how easily we can forget about the intricacies and spectacles that even our most pedestrian surroundings have to offer. Often enough, purposefully or not, we go out of our way to minimize the spectacles around us, burying ourselves in artificial minutia in favor of the tactile world.
Room is bleak. It will grab your guts from the outside and twist them around your spinal cord with one hand while it palms you in the heart with the other. But where most other films might be content to leave you beaten down in the dumps sorrow isn’t Room’s endgame.
Room is about trauma and the evil that men do, but it ultimately didn’t end up inciting despair or rage or pity, it wound up inciting appreciation and awe. I didn’t leave Room wanting to cry. I left Room wanting to take a good, hard look at a staircase.