When I saw Room, everyone around me was crying. Sobbing, stifling tears, every ounce of emotion in this movie worked on them. But not on me. At 14, am I just too young? Is it because I'm not a parent? Maybe. But even if I wasn’t emotionally invested in Room, there's still stuff to like here.
Room is about a 5 year old named Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his mother (Brie Larson) who are trapped in a single room. Jack was born there, and it's the only life he knows. Mom was abducted 7 years before the film starts. But after their escape from their captor at the start of the film, the real world might be too different and strange for them to adjust.
The performances in Room are remarkable. Brie Larson is incredible in this movie, as is Jacob Tremblay, who I really hope continues to act and doesn't get involved with the wrong crowds, like so many child actors before him. All the supporting characters are also great, with Joan Allen standing out, along with a surprise appearance by William H. Macy, who I didn't even know was in the movie. All the characters in the movie are given an extra layer of dimension because of both the writing and the acting.
Despite Jacob Tremblay's great performance, for me it was undermined by his narration throughout the movie. I didn't feel like it fit in with the rest of the movie to have him narrate, and the narration emphasized points that were already very clear. There are also musical swells throughout the movie that felt very cheesy to me.
Lenny Abrahamson's direction is also too close-up. It makes the shots uninteresting, since all I can see at some points are the actor's eyes. While it works alright in the room, since it emphasizes the small amount of space, once they're out of the room, it continues. While it may be a metaphorical use, it's just not pleasant to look at, and there's not enough of a balance. Close-ups should emphasize things, not be all we see.
Despite its directorial issues and an unnecessary use of narration, Room is a good film. I appreciate the magnitude and importance of the story, and the actors elevate it. While I think people are blowing its greatness out of proportion a bit (as of January 10th, 8.3/10 on IMDb which puts it in the top 250 films of all time, 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 86/100 on Metacritic) it's at least a good movie. Although I was expecting more, it might just not be for me, and its target audience of parents will most likely enjoy it more.