Monday, November 23, 2015


One of the most talked-about films from the Telluride Festival is a kidnapping film called "Room".  But please, don't confuse it with the "so bad, it's camp" film called "The Room" by Tommy Wiseau.  The two films are at opposite ends of the scale.

"Room" is directed by Lenny Abrahamson and stars the great Brie Larson as a girl kidnapped at the age of 16 and used as a sex slave.  Her son, played by Jacob Tremblay, is fathered by the kidnapper - it's one of the most powerful and haunting films of the year.

The mother and son are isolated in the kidnapper's shed, where they set up a home in a 10 ft. by 10 ft. room, with only a small skylight for any connection to the outside world.  They also have an old TV set and the young boy assumes that everything he sees on the TV is not real. It's all make-believe to him, since he was born in the shelter and knows nothing about real life.

The film does not deal with graphic sex or violence - the horror is more of a psychological nature.  How cruel it is that this mother and son are forced to live in captivity and have such a minimal life experience.

The film begins when the young boy turns five, and it is at this stage that the mother tells him exactly what happened six years ago.  They then plan an escape, so about halfway through the film, the boy is able to get free and get help. 

The second half of the film deals with them confronting the real world and handling the media.  Just because they've escaped the horror chamber, that doesn't mean that their pain is over.  There are a lot of terrible after-effects from their terrible ordeal.  And the small boy even misses his time in slavery.

The screenplay by Emma Donoghue is so well written and wrenching, it deserves an Oscar.  And the acting by everyone, especially the young boy, is amazing. 

If you get a chance, please go out and see "Room".  I give it an "A". 

--Bill Plympton

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