First Hit: A dark dialogue rich film with outstanding acting that portrays the inside horror of being held captive.
Ma (Brie Larson) is living in a soundproof shed and is being held captive there by “Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers).
She’s been held there for 7 years and has a 5 year old boy, fathered by Nick, named Jack (Jacob Tremblay). He has lived his whole life in the “Room” with Ma who has done her best to raise Jack. He knows little of the outside world but after turning 5, Ma begins to tell him what the world is really like outside the Room.
Jack is upset and wants to believe the stories Ma had previously told him about outside the Room. As Ma becomes more determined to find a way get Jack out of the room she comes up with a risky plan to fake Jack's death.
The remaining part of the film is about their adjustments to the real world. The inquisitive press, Ma’s rejection by her father, and Jack’s struggle to engage with all that the world outside the Room offers. The questions by the press push Ma into a deep depression because they intimate that she kept Jack as a way to save herself by not thinking of Jack’s well-being.
This is complex film and the acting by Tremblay is amazing and superb. The filmmaker did a great job of creating a sense of wonder through Jack as he sees the world outside the room for the first time.
Larson is very, very strong and deserves a lot of credit for making this film work. Tremblay is sublime. His slow transition from captive boy with a limited view of the world to engaged boy with an understanding of the world around him is fantastic. His ability to say goodbye to the “Room” was extraordinary. Joan Allen (as Ma’s mother Nancy) was very good. Emma Donoghue wrote a very strong script that felt very realistic. Lenny Abrahamson did an excellent job of directing the actors and creating scenes that felt true – especially the scene where Jack escapes in front of the man with the dog – the confusion, fear and concern were perfectly executed.
Overall: This is a dark film and afterward I couldn’t help but think about the captured and imprisoned women we’ve read about in the last few years.