STARRING: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers, Joan Allen, William H. Macy
DIRECTOR: Lenny Abrahamson
THE SKINNY: Based on Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel, Room is narrated by Jack (Tremblay), five, who has been confined all his life in a room with his mother Ma (Larson). Ma was abducted by Old Nick (Bridgers) as a teenager and held captive. When the two escape, Jack discovers the outside world for the first time, but
the bond with his beloved Ma remains unbreakable.
MARS by JASON JOHNSON
Room is a great example of how to take a familiar genre and transcend it.
It's basically a crime thriller, but it's like no crime thriller you've ever seen.
Typically, we watch these sorts of things from the cops' point of view, as they set out to solve whatever case it is.
Here, the focus is on the victims, but the thing is that they are not really victims. The mother and son are fully-realised human beings who elicit our full range of emotions.
There's sadness, of course, but also hope, joy, anger, boredom, frustration, trepidation, guilt, relief and, most of all, love.
Like all the best movies, Room ends up being every sort of movie.
It's a drama, an action flick, a love story and a coming-of-age tale.
There's not much comedy, but the film has an unusually light tone for its subject matter and there are moments of pure delight.
The opening scenes in the eponymous space are magical and mysterious.
The sequence where Jack escapes in the back of a truck is one of the most suspenseful I've ever seen.
The scene where he helps the police rescue Ma is wholeheartedly triumphant.
The bit where he is rejected by his own grandfather is utterly wrenching.
If you must make an art film, this is the way to do it.
It must also be noted that the acting is as good as you'll ever see, and I suspect the awards are going to pile up in short order.
VENUS by LISA TWANG
What would it feel like to grow up within the confines of one small room?
It's a question that's eloquently answered in this indie flick, which remains tender without being sentimental and cloying.
It's a happier version of The Lovely Bones, minus the supernatural elements.
Room could easily be a story about drudgery, post-traumatic stress disorder and fear.
It touches on these issues, but its eternal optimism stands out.
To Jack, who is discovering the real world for the first time, everything inspires wonder: fallen leaves, pancakes, the unending wideness of the sky.
As a cynical adult, it's thrilling to see everyday objects turn magical through the eyes of a sheltered child.
Credit must go to Tremblay for remaining so endearing throughout. Precocious child actors can seem like little know-it-alls, but he is down-to-earth while being wise beyond his years.
Larson also deserves the universal praise she's received for Room, demonstrating her range by playing the vacant victim, loving mother and struggling daughter effectively.
The relationship between Jack and Ma is the bedrock of the film, and it unfolds in the most natural and spellbinding way.
Unsettling at times, Room may not be the most pleasant way to spend two hours, but it's a beautiful story that will haunt you long after the credits roll.
THE CONSENSUS: Make room in your viewing schedule for this one and be rewarded