I had heard nothing but great things about this movie and I had been desperate to see it since seeing the trailer, while harrowing it held exceptional promise. Simple, powerful and highly emotional it hooked me in the first minute and never let me go, there were lots of tears during this one but they were all worth it. ROOM is out in Australia on January 28th but thanks to the fantastic peeps at Roadshow Films I was allowed to watch it a few weeks back. ROOM makes my top 10 films of the year and is a must see. It is rated MA15+ and runs for 118mins. 


Room Poster Image
Room | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Poster Image



If you were held captive in a 10ft by 10ft room for seven years how far would you go to survive? All reality is gone, you have yourself and your room and you are raped every night by your captor who is living a form of deluded families with you. You have limited food, limited medicine, no luxury items and sanitary conditions are incredibly basic. At year two you have a child to your captor and raise the child in your 10×10 room. Having nothing of your own besides your life you raise the child in this small room, your child knows nothing of the outside world, all he knows is 10×10 and the light from a skylight high on the roof.

Maternal instincts and the need for a companion she does not hate and fear are Ma’s survival now and she creates an entire world to allow a child to live a life as normal as possible, sacrifice follows sacrifice as Ma’s life is void for the need to keep her son, Jack, alive and happy.

ROOM is based on Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue’s award-winning 2010 novel of the same name that was inspired by similar real-life crimes. While it appears to be a captive movie at the hands of a predator it is in fact a celebration of the bond of mother and child.


room movie brie larson image
Room | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Ma (Brie Larson) looking up towards the skylight image


I pretty much knew I would love this movie when I heard Lenny Abrahamson was directing, his work on WHAT RICHARD DID made me fall in love with his style, simple and powerful with no sense of bullshit. He also made FRANK, the odd film with Michael Fassbender in a giant papier-mâché head piece. The thing I love about his films is that he doesn’t think his audience is stupid, he tells his story and allows you to think. ROOM starts and immediately you think they could be happy in a home, as the camera and story evolve you realise how packed in they are, their entire universe is 10ftx10ft, to them it is everything and it is large because it is all they have. For all we know Ma (Brie Larson) could simply be a poor single mother with questionable hygiene.

It isn’t until Old Nick (Sean Bridgers) visits during the night that you gain the full scope of their predicament. Ma titles their cell “room” and to them “room” is their universe. Ma uses imagination and truth-bending to make this universe acceptable for Jack (Jacob Tremblay) to keep him calm and happy and as “normal” as possible. Jack doesn’t believe in anything else, it is all he has known after-all. He literally knows nothing of open spaces, stars, sunrises, beaches and everything we take for granted but the happy and heartbreaking thing of it all is that he is satisfied and happy in his life with Ma in “room.” 

But Jack is getting bigger and more curious and wanting of more, he believes television is magic and is unawares of reality but is intelligent enough to start questioning. At the same time as Jack gets bigger the room gets smaller and Ma comes up with a plan to escape, a heartbreaking and incredibly terrifying escape plan that will see them into the outside world, but seven years is a long time to be away from the “normal” world and could it be more terrifying being out of ROOM?


room Jacob Tremblay image
Room | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Jack (Jacob Tremblay) image


Performances are paramount in this movie. For me I award Oscars to both Brie Larson for Best Female Performance of 2015 and to Jacob Tremblay for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, he is only NINE YEARS OLD and his performance is epic, his rawness is perfect and so natural and it is this performance and this character that make the movie, if the Jack character wasn’t up to scratch this movie would have been average, thanks to his performance and his chemistry with Larson it is elevated to sublime. If Tremblay isn’t nominated I will be incredibly disappointed!! Larson already has an incredible range with performances in (most notably) SHORT TERM 12 and then comedies like 21 JUMP STREET, SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD and then movies like THE GAMBLER and more, in ROOM she scrubs herself raw, no make-up, always dirty and desperate she goes further by bearing her soul, there was no actor, there was just Ma with her twisted balance to survive and keep Jack happy.

Hearing lines like below will melt your heart:

Jack: Are we in another planet?

Ma: Same one. Just a different spot.

Notice the “in” “another planet” as opposed to on, a simple line that sums up Jack’s reality.

Also impressive are smaller performances from Joan Allen and William H. Macy as Ma’s parents. Allen is always exceptional and is the anchor and comfort needed for Jack as he enters onto the oceans of the world, she makes the last third of the movie and Macy’s character is interesting, a small part but perfectly real in the fact he can’t look at Jack, knowing he is the offspring from his daughter’s rapist predator.


room movie image
Room | Salty Popcorn Movie Review | Ma and Jack Image


The greatest element in this movie is that it is an incredible psychology study on the love and bond of parent and child, they are symbiotic. Also what does a person need to live? How far can we go to live? Can mother survive without child? How far can we go to escape? It is applaudable that the captor is nearly irrelevant in this story once they have escaped, he is nothing but a background footnote, where animals like this belong. Why do we give all the TV time to the murderers? The terrorists? The kidnappers? ROOM does not, it allows the audience to see who matters and their plight into “normality.” A real struggle that could be more difficult than the heartbreaking simplicity of ROOM.

The movie borders on cinematic and dramatic perfection, there are some elements of melodrama in the last third but for me it was needed in their re-assimilation into humanity.

SEE THIS MOVIE and take tissues!!


5 Pops



Jason King is the owner and editor of Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Film Critics Circle of Australia and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. He loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. All the social media links to the right and up will allow you to abuse, troll or stalk him :).


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