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#73 - Room
Lenny Abrahamson, 2015

A little boy who has spent his whole life thinking that the room he lives in with his mother is the entire world gradually learns the truth about his situation.

Trying to come up with a brief logline for Room initially proved a little difficult, so I decided to actually do it in the same manner that the film tells its story; by framing it through the perspective of a five-year-old boy named Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who is the focal character in the film. The greater story that we the audience are able to recognise from the outset is that Jack and his "ma" (Brie Larson) are trapped in a tiny room and are dependent on Ma's deranged captor (Sean Bridgers) for survival. Jack has lived his entire life inside this room and sees it as an entire world full of wonder and detail, but much of that is an effort by Ma to help her son unknowingly cope with one objectively horrible situation. The film picks up shortly before she decides to tell Jack the truth about "Room" and launch a plan for the pair of them to escape. That's about as much plot as I feel like going into - if anything, Room definitely benefits from knowing as little about what happens as possible. Fortunately, it's still able to withstand spoilers and works really well with confronting material that could have easily resulted in overly manipulative tripe.

A lot of what makes Room work is how it really commits to showing what life seems like in the eyes of Jack, with everything from the frequently tight cinematography to reverberating voice-over immersing viewers in his perspective while still allowing them to piece together enough of what's actually happening in the background. Give such a responsibility, Tremblay performs admirably and gives a good performance that only grates when it is supposed to reflect the frustrations of not just his own experiences but also those of various adult characters who interact with him. Larson, who picked up an Oscar for her work here, is definitely capable of balancing a wide range of conflicting emotions as she embodies one especially troubled character who has already gone through a lot by the time the film starts and must weather even more hardships as the film progresses. They are aided by a good supporting cast where the most prominent performers are still on equal (or even lesser) footing with everyone else. Room aptly avoids descending into predictably maudlin melodrama and instead comes across as an intricately-crafted yet ultimately approachable arthouse drama.