Tonight I saw Room, starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay.
Joy (Larson) was a victim of a kidnapping when she was a teenager. She's been kept prisoner by her captor ever since, and produced a son, Jack (Tremblay), with him.
When we meet Joy and Jack, it's Jack's 5th birthday and the pair are celebrating by baking a cake from scratch. Jack is disappointed there are no candles to blow out, but his mother explains that she can only ask for so much.
After a series of "visits" from the captor, Joy decides it's time to try to make a move to escape, and Jack will have to be her ticket out. That's as much as I can tell you without spoiling the film. So, instead, I'll talk about the brilliant performances from Brie Larson, who is a certain bet for an Oscar nod, and Jacob Tremblay, who may just score a nomination of his own.
Brie as Joy perfectly exemplifies a tortured soul, though she doesn't let her son see it. She compartmentalizes like anyone who has been traumatized and saves her grief for the future, when she's emotionally allowed to show it.
The young Jacob Tremblay displays an equal mix of innocence and anger about his situation as Jack. The moment Joy tells him that there is indeed a world like the one they see on their television is something sure to be studied by future child actors.
The supporting characters are minimal but impactful—Joan Allen as Grandma and William H. Macy as Grandpa. The guilty parents who couldn't protect their own.
The screenplay is also to credit for such a realistic, awful sequence of events. Anyone who has watched television interviews with real-life survivors of such horrors only gets a glimpse of the layers of emotion they're working through when the bright interview lights are shining upon them. Here the writer peels back those layers and lets us experience each one.
I'm not ashamed to say that I sobbed uncontrollably more than once during this film. I hope it gets the recognition it deserves come awards season.