A few days ago, I went to the movies with a friend. I am subscribed to this YouTube Channel that releases the trailers of new movies coming out soon and from that I compile a list of movies I want to see in the future. Room, of course, was on the list, because the trailer on its own already gave, and continues to give, me goosebumps. You can check it out for yourselves below.
Room tells the story of a mother and her son, Ma and Jack, living in a shed, referred to as “Room”. They both eventually manage to escape their suppressing, rather cruel circumstances, of which I won’t tell you any more because, well, everybody hates spoilers. The story itself despite it being a tragic one, is told beautifully. The performances by both Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, who take on the role of the mother and the son, are astonishing. They play so delicately, you almost forget that their emotional mother-son bond is not real, but a theatrical construction. I forgot as it were, much like the main characters, that there existed any world outside the room I found myself in.
What is especially gripping about this story is how remarkably well the mother has been able to provide a nourishing, loving environment for the little boy: they watch TV, he learns to read, they play games, do sports,… All that despite their “odd” living situation. And one cannot help but consider the special role that mothers play or have played in all of our lives.
The imagery itself also adds extra layers to the movie; some parts are filmed as if seen through the eyes of Jack, including when his first confrontations with the real world: sometimes, shaky, hazy, blindingly bright and overwhelming. This allows for a more hybrid experience where the world as we see it is contrasted with the world Jack sees. But also language imagery plays a role in the movie (or maybe I am just a little bit of obsessed with language in general): rather than calling the chair “a chair”, Jack greets the objects in Room as “Chair”, “Wardrobe”, “Bed”, always with a capital letter and without an article, illustrating the essence of his thinking: there is only one Room, with one Chair, one Wardrobe, etc. I think this use of language makes it easier for the viewer to get into this mindset, too.
Lastly, what I think we should all take away from this movie is that we should not take things for granted; we live in a world with lots of chairs, lots of people, lots of places and things to explore and love, and we’d better make sure we try it all. My favourite two favourite quotes from the film reflect exactly on this
“You’re gonna love it.”
“Ma and I have decided that because we don’t know what we like, we get to try everything. There are so many things out here. And sometimes, it’s scary, but that’s okay, because it’s still just you and me.”