Starring Brie Larson, Jack Tremblay, Joan Allen, Tom McCamus, Sean Bridgers & William H. Macy

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson

I’ve never left a cinema having been profoundly affected by what I’ve just seen. Apart from my own personal hang-ups I can watch a film and not develop any lasting emotional affixations. It’s just not in my nature to take the extra baggage on board.

Then Room came along, and it left me reeling for days. It’s been almost a week but I haven’t been able to fathom and construe my experience into words. I’m a person who thrives on structured routine, and Room has me unbalanced.

My prolific burst of creativity that follows a trip to the cinema has been replaced by seven days of envisaging why a film of all things has me feeling so disconcerted. It’s perplexing that Room would be the film to cause this, because it never ventures beyond the imperative in order to depict the events, and yet it’s so incredibly thoughtful.

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Therein lies the answer. I couldn’t help but wonder what such an inescapable and perpetual trauma would do to a person like myself. That’s because this isn’t just any screenwriter contriving a psychologically dire context. This has happened, it’s still happening, and Room tells every single one of those stories as they really are.

There are no all’s-well happy endings. It doesn’t happen that way. These victims, if they’re lucky to survive, struggle for the rest of their lives. It’s only on a day-by-day basis that they heal. Room doesn’t consort with films that profess a ‘life goes on’ sentiment that appears far too often in film. The scars may not be visible, and they do diminish, but they’re permanent.

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It also doesn’t try to induce nightmares with its depiction of Old Nick (Bridgers) or the conditions of the incarceration of Joy (Larson) and Jack (Tremblay). What’s shown is worse than any horror film could drum up. It’s not visually stimulating in any way, but it’s soul destroying.

This process hasn’t been as therapeutic as I would have liked. All it’s done is add weight to the conflict I’m facing. Room is amazing, but I can’t find enjoyment from in what is an all too real misery. Can I?

MRD 8 of 10

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