Room: The Oscar Nominated Movie with a Local Connection
We often hear reminders from family and friends not to take certain necessities for granted—clean water, food to eat, a roof overhead. What we don’t hear as often is not to take space for granted. I’m not talking about stars and planets; I’m talking about the area around you right now. The fact that you can, at this moment, walk hundreds of feet in any direction is a mental necessity, whether we are conscious of it or not. To be trapped in one small location without freedom is a truly terrifying thought that may be hard to fathom. It's also the basis for the movie Room, one of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Film.
Room begins with the daily rituals of Ma and Jack, her 5 year old son. Jack starts his day by greeting his closest friends—“Hello plant! Hello wardrobe! Hello sink!” He makes his way around the room greeting them and playing games as any child does, but as the day unfolds, you begin to realize that they aren’t leaving to start the day elsewhere. Indeed, Jack has never left this room—he was born here. 7 years ago, Ma was kidnapped by a man they only call Old Nick, who abuses her almost nightly, and is the unfortunate biological father of the delightful child.
It’s a nightmarish situation that the 24-year old has been living all these years, so you have to assume Ma has tried and failed at every attempt to break free. And although this prison has clearly drained the life from her eyes, she has managed to make it seem as normal as possible for her son. She creates an entire mythos around what “Room” is. For Jack, “Room” is it. “There’s Room, there’s outer space, then all the TV planets, then heaven”. He doesn’t realize that there’s an entire world outside of room, waiting to be explored. This is just the beginning of the movie. To reveal any more would be a disservice to the story—you really must experience what happens next for yourself.
The adorable and well spoken Jacob Tremblay wins best young actor/actress at 2016 Critics’ Choice Awards
I will however mention how incredible the acting is in this film. The young Canadian actor Jacob Tremblay is so heartrending and authentic as Jack, and I can say without hesitation it’s the best acting I’ve ever seen for a child so young and with such heavy subject matter. Brie Larson is just as affecting as Ma, and deserves her nomination for Best Actress. The director, Lenny Abrahamson, also directed another one of my favourite quirky films, Frank, so it’s safe to say he’s now officially one of my favourite directors!
I could go on and on about this movie but there is one more cherry on top that must be revealed—it’s written by a local Londoner! Emma Donoghue is an Irish-Canadian born in Dublin, Ireland, who moved to London, Ontario with her partner Christine Roulston (who is a professor at the University of Western Ontario) and now lives there with her two children. She wrote Room (the highly-praised and awarded novel) in 2010, and adapted it to the film screenplay in 2015. From all of us at Execulink, we’d like to send very heartfelt congratulations to a fellow Southwestern Ontarian on these beautiful works of art, and best of luck on Oscar night!
You can catch Room on Execulink’s VOD channel (ch. 100) from Feb 23rd to May 23rd, 2016.