After watching the movie Room, I was left with an undying lingering prolonged passiveness to humanity. A deference to my inner pessimist. A sadness. A bit of compliance to the old, “this world is cruel everything is terrible everything is over.”
But in addition to this I felt a little bit of perspective. A little bit of thought. A lot of confusion. But a lot of answers. Deliberation. Conclusion.
Room is a story about a women, Ma, and her five year old son, Jack. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and written by Emma Donoghue, this brittle-boned story starts off captivating the viewer by showing a seemingly peaceful life between the family of two. They watch TV, they make crafts, sleep, eat and do exercise. Seemingly peaceful.
But as the seen progresses, it is evident that their home is a room, with a small bed, toilet, closet, basic kitchen and bathtub. They have a few food items a small TV and one sky light and nothing else.
The disturbing truth behind the person who locked the two in there, how they ended up where they are and the entire circumstance of how they are still surviving makes you want to jump out of your seat and turn off the TV. But all of us disturbing movie watchers keep going.
Ma doesn’t explain to Jack the truth; Jack thinks this room is all there is to life. But upon his fifth birthday everything changes. Upon learning that trees are real, that life is beyond these doors he loses it. He doesn’t believe his mother. He hates his mother. But to Ma, Jack is all that she has.
She says that the man “Old Nick” who brings them food, rapes her and cuts their electricity when he is mad locked her in here when she was just a 17 year old girl walking on the street. She had him here and there is an entire world that she needs to come out to and that Jack can help her. Jack’s reaction to this is sheer disbelief. The emotion in the scene tears you in half but you root for the two of them to make it through. To be OK.
A horribly tense plan comes into action and eventually the two of them are rescued, freed and together.
But the beauty of this movie is in its desire to showcase that the haunt of perseverance will not end on physical escape. The way that Jack misses Room when he leaves. The way that Ma cannot quite fathom the reality of the torture. That people will poke their nose into her life and her boy, her everything even much past.
Flashbacks, terror, the vilification of parents and old love ones after the honey moon of escape is over. Everything has changed. Her parents were not together anymore. Reality is grimmer than her memory. She thought everything would go back to the way it was but it didn’t. This shows a valuable feeling of life’s failure to be resilient. So Joy (Jack’s Ma) has to be. But after being locked up in a shed with no way to escape, resilience is not up for grabs as easily as it used to be.
Joy attempts suicide.
My only critique of this movie might be that Jack adapts to this life too easily, though he is young he is very sharp, warm and understanding. He is a smart kid. One with an open heart. A unique mind. He struggles a little to talk to other people when he realizes that his Ma isn’t the entire world, but he very quickly changes his behaviour and starts to fit in with the other kids and find his place in the family. The movie made this feel realistic and it can be an artistic choice to offer the viewers a little bit of relief from the ongoing struggle of their life, but it felt a little bit untrue. In the long run however, I was pleased to see Jack gain some peace and see its affect on Ma.
Room shows the repercussions of being dehumanized. This 2015 film illuminates that the fight is not over when typically media ends the story. This film shows the boldness of recovering. The struggle of adapting. The love can triumph, distance and grow all over again.
This movie was real. It’s been a couple of weeks since I have seen it and I am still having it hit me all over again.