ROOM – Review by Susan Granger

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Brie Larson (“Short Term 12”) delivers an exquisite, Oscar-worthy performance as Joy, a young woman held captive in a small garden shed with her five year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay). Adapted by Emma Donoghue from her original 2010 best-seller and directed by Lenny Abrahamson (“Frank”), it’s basically told from Jack’s point-of-view. Jack has never left the squalid, sound-proofed, 10-by-10-foot room in which his Ma has been imprisoned for seven years. He was born there. Read on…

Gazing through the solitary skylight, Jack can see clouds, rain and an occasional leaf – but nothing else. Everything he knows about the outside world he’s learned from his resourceful Ma by playing games or watching television.

On his fifth birthday as Jack grows more curious, Ma informs him that she was 17 when she was kidnapped by a psychopath known as Old Nick (Sean Bridges), who visits periodically to deliver groceries and rape Ma, while Jack cowers in the wardrobe.

She says now is the time to plan their escape, a risky maneuver which will involve Jack’s bravely separating from his devoted mother for the first time in his life.

Eventually, Jack meets his grandparents (Joan Allen, William H. Macy), who divorced after Joy’s abduction, and Grandma’s new husband, Leo (Tom McCamus).

Once he’s in the outside world, Jack is understandably bewildered by his newfound freedom, while Joy tries to cope with the brutal psychological trauma she’s endured for so long.

Their adjustment process is complicated further when Joy agrees to a major TV network interview, only to be sandbagged when her motivations as a mother are questioned.

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay create an astonishingly intimate mother-son connection, although those who have read the novel may miss some of its daring frankness involving the concept of privacy and personal space.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Room” is a resilient, cathartic 8, combining a wondrous metaphor with a suspenseful thriller.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.