10DoO #8 – Room (2015)

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We’re gearing towards the end of this year’s 10 Days of Oscar. It’s not over, how do you like it so far? Today we look at what I still think is a surprise nominee, not because it’s a bad film, but because I couldn’t possibly think that this would get the attention beyond some acting nods, of which it only ended up receiving one, and a deserving one, so whatever, I’ll shut up… until you read the review that is. This movie is nominated for 4 Oscars, including Best Picture.

by Jaime Grijalba.

I think that if I have a problem with this movie is, once again, a problem that I have with films in general and it’s that I have a harder time than most to connect with them in an emotional manner, which is what I want from the movies I watch more and more, whether it be artistically or thematically, and I guess ‘Room’ didn’t achieve that for me through most of its length. I think that its touchy subject and the way that it was caramelized (obviously for the sake of the son) made me less shocked about the whole situation that was portrayed, hidden to our eyes as the movie was told entirely through his perspective, and the things that we know are because he knows them, and those that we don’t, we must only assume them through the glimpses that we get and the strange language that he uses to describe the world around him, due to the lack of interaction he has had with the real world so far. If there’s something that the movie does achieve is that, it can put you in the mind of the character played by Jacob Tremblay, and that’s something that we can all appreciate, as I think it’s really hard to create a film that doesn’t break the illusion that it’s being entirely told from one character’s perspective and just that one, even though it’s in theory, simple.

So, through most of the length this movie left me both artistically and emotionally distant, and it’s only towards the end of the film, and specially after they leave Room, I could feel all of the emotional impact, all of what came before it and wasn’t being entirely shown could now be seen in the way of the psychological impact of Brie Larson, who I think gives a powerful and award worthy performance. It is only when the “after the fact” scenes start to happen that one starts to see the importance behind the perspective chosen by the director, it is only then that through Larson’s performance that we can truly understand the horrors, and it doesn’t matter how downplayed they are because of the forced perspective, as they work marvels in terms of connecting you with the suffering and what was happening in all those years that Ma was missing and thus being tortured and sexually harassed every day of her life. The eyes and the silences play a wonderful game in her performance, while I personally think that Tremblay’s, while doing a wonderful work for his age, it’s not as different as the child in ‘The Babadook’ (2014, Kent), where he only plays an overactive over-imaginative shrieking version of what might’ve been himself at that age. Larson does wonders without much artifice, which ranks her among the best performances alongside those of Blanchett and Mara in ‘Carol’ (2015, Haynes).

This movie has some highs and lows. Its most lamentable fault is how it squanders the possibility of greatness and wonder that could’ve been the reveal of the vastness of the sky for the child when he finally gets out. It feels that it lacks the strength that it could’ve had, it’s edited in a weird manner and the music doesn’t help, as majestic as it wants to be to our ears, blasting through everything. But then, there’s my personal favorite moments that are when Jack (the character played by Tremblay) is with his grandmother and slowly they start to build a relationship through the simple tasks of daily life, conversations and understanding. And I think that I will never come close to loving this film, as I think that as imaginative and contrived the first half is, it’ll never come close to the liberation of the second half, where everything clicks, the performances, the characters and even the lackluster resolution.

8/10

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