We’re all aware of the phrase TLDNR (Too Long, Did Not Read) for posts on the Internet. This is a segment called TLDNW (Too Long, Did Not Watch). It’s for people that just don’t have time to go to the movies. Now, I work pretty hard every year to see the entire list of films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. You probably won’t get to all of them, because I assume you have a social life. Luckily for you, it is my goal in the following weeks to post reviews of the 2016 Oscar-nominated movies so that you can be caught up before the big night.
However, I know even reading a whole review is time-consuming and not for everyone. Many people just look at the star rating and don’t bother with the rest of the review. Even now you’re probably bored of this introduction.
So I’ll make it short and sweet. For every movie I review, I’ll include three sections: 1) A 1-word review, because frankly most people are lazy. 2) A 20-word review so you have things to say about the film when your friends ask if you saw it. 3) An in-depth 500-word review.
TLDNW: 1 Word
TLDNW: 20 Words
Deeply moving. Uplifting in the most surprising ways. Honest. Difficult. Brie Larson will make you weep. Jacob Tremblay’s heart and hair.
TLDNW: 500 Words
Four out of Four Stars
The film Room is incredibly small. It’s a small budget film. It only takes place in a couple of locations. It’s this deeply touching and beautiful film told primarily through the eyes of a 5-year-old boy. It is also perhaps my favourite movie of the year and I warn you – you will cry while watching it. Based on the book of the same name by Emma Donoghue, Room is not an easy film to watch. The movie stars a marvelous Brie Larson as “Ma” who was kidnapped at 16 and is held in captivity in a tiny backyard shed. Her son, Jack (as portrayed by a perfect Jacob Tremblay), knows nothing of the world outside Room. He is clearly the product of rape, which Ma has endured for five years, and this makes the film even more difficult to digest.
You may have read my previous review of The Revenant in which I discuss certain inexcusable cinematic sins. Where The Revenant tries to mask its poor execution with beautiful cinematography, Room hides nothing. Certainly there are aspects of Room that are not perfect. The score is perhaps the worst aspect of the movie, trying too hard to seem emotional. Unfortunately for the score there can be no matching the emotional weight carried by Larson and Tremblay. In addition, one of the most frustrating traits of Room is that it is so clearly filmed in Canada but tries to tell us it is somewhere in America. Quote: “I live in a big city in a big place called America”, smash-cut to: skating at Nathan Philips Square. However, these movie sins are ones that can be forgiven due to the unending love that was poured into, and subsequently pours out of, Room.
The film is such a labour of love and this is due to, in part, the justice the film does to the novel. It helps that Emma Donoghue wrote the screenplay, but new director Lenny Abrahamson chooses such perfect shots to highlight vital aspects of the book. There are some absolutely incredible sequences filmed entirely from Jack’s perspective that mirror the novel’s first-person viewpoint.
Brie Larson deserves an entire review to herself and will certainly take home the Oscar for best actress; her performance so carefully walks the line between tragically angry and profoundly loving. Watch literally any interview with Larson and she will discuss how important this movie was to her and how difficult it was to make.
As a fan of the novel I was nervous before seeing this film. I knew that it was going to be a difficult watch and even more upsetting was the idea that they might somehow pander. In a cinematic world dominated so heavily by giant blockbuster movies that keep breaking their own records Room could have very easily gone one of two ways: 1) Its quiet voice could have been lost amongst the screaming of every Avengers movie; or 2) it could have tried to scream just as loudly and lost the tenderness so pertinent in the novel. Room does what most movies cannot do. It sits quietly and demands our attention.
Click here to check out the rest of Spencer’s TLDNW reviews.