Let me begin with a statement clarifying what this movie is: first, it is NOT The Room, widely considered the worst movie ever inflicted on humanity. This is a movie that has the best chance of any Irish film to win Best Picture at the Oscars this year. This is the most powerful film you will see all year, and certainly one of the two best films of 2015.
The movie stars Brie Larson as Joy Newsome, and Jacob Tremblay as Jake, her five year old son, a child of Joy’s rape. Joy makes the room in which she is held as good of a home as she can for her little boy. She has shielded him from the truth for years, telling him lies to protect his innocence. She takes on all of the emotional, psychological, and physical injuries of being trapped in a shed for years, trying her best not to let the emotional toll it takes on her interfere with how she teaches and raises her son. A few days after he turns five, Joy entrusts him with the truth, and pleads with him to help them escape. When the plan succeeds, Jake adjusts to the world he has never known faster than Joy re-acclimates to being home. In reality, Joy’s entrapment is not over; she has just traded the four walls of a small shed for the four walls of her home with ravenous paparazzi waiting outside. Again, it is Jake who saves her from her imprisonment, and brings her to safety.
Lenny Abrahamson’s direction is a thing of beauty. It is subtle, unimposing, and tender, much like Joy’s love and guidance of Jake during their time in the room. When watching this film, you will be enamored by the performances, but before I discuss that, I must implore you: do not lose sight of the technical subtleties. The cinematography is excellent; the film editing is spectacular; the score is emotional and tear-inducing; and most of all, the writing is, without a doubt, the most beautiful of the year.
With that reminder said, Brie Larson is my choice for Best Actress. Her nomination is a guarantee, but with a field that will likely include some combination of Saoirse Ronan, Emily Blunt, and previous Oscar-winners Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron, and Jennifer Lawrence, her win is certainly not assured. Still, her performance is a thing of absolute beauty. Larson exudes a mother’s love wonderfully on screen. She perfectly embodies a 24 year old woman with a child of rape, and the struggle of protecting her child from the truth while keeping her own sanity. Tremblay, however, is going to be the Oscar casualty of the year. He won’t get a nomination, but I sincerely will pray that he does. He aptly depicts the child inside all of us that hopes the world is so much bigger than we think it is. More importantly, he is the perfect child. He listens to his mother, he listens to his mother, he listens to his mother. And then he saves his mother. The things this boy says and does on screen at his age make Haley Joel Osment’s performance in The Sixth Sense look like child’s play in comparison. Tremblay is the star of this film, and as much as I hope Larson wins, I hope even more to see him nominated. When you see this most wonderful film, see it with your mother. While you are watching it, the realization will hit you that if it were you and your mother in that position, she would have done for you everything Joy does for Jake. If you hold on to that feeling for the rest of your life, the movie has succeeded.