Posts Tagged ‘Room’


*LOTS of spoilers*

“Hello Jack, Thanks for saving our little girl.” says Joan Allen upon seeing her grandson Jacob Tremblay (who play Jack so astonishingly that you want to cleave through the screen and smother him with hugs and kisses) for the first time in a hospital. This line defines the heart of the film. How a 5 year old kid saves his mother’s life. That is what the film is about, not about their heroic escape from the clutches of a psychopath.

A kid that came into being 2 years after his mother became a sex slave, and had been held captive for two years. He talks to the inanimate objects in the room (Good morning ‘lamp’, Good morning ‘sink’, Good morning ‘chair’), talks to his imaginary dog, does stretches with his mother to keep his muscles agile, listens to the ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ that his mother sings for him, makes toys with egg shells, and celebrates his birthday with a cake without candles, and stares out of the skylight where aliens live. That is what he’s been doing for 5 years until one fine day his mother decides that its about time he escaped. The instructions are clear – “Wiggle out, jump, run, somebody.”

He is scared shitless coz he literally has not seen anything out of that room and he is 5 years old! His world was a small room with a bed, wardrobe (where he was supposed to hide when ‘Old Nick” visited Mom, the name aptly refers to the devil as I read somewhere), a bathtub, a chair-table and a TV with bad reception. He literally is not aware that there exists a world outside these four walls full of trees and dogs and people and oceans and endless earth, which is round, he later gets to know confounded by the fact that if it is, why we don’t fall off. So when Mom tries to tell him the truth, he screams. (a scene he had the most difficulty performing)

She was all of 17 when this happened, she tells him, when she was tricked to fall down down down this rabbit hole. She tells him of Grandma’s house with a backyard and a hammock. He understands her story, coz he is five (Jacob was actually 7 at the time of the shoot) now. He is a grown up boy capable of understanding complex things, is what she makes him believe so that he can escape. And the moment he does, your heart, along with Mom’s, skip a beat. You literally want to run and save that kid from this monster driving the truck. Jack’s eyes, the moment he comes out of the carpet, are going to haunt me for a long long time.


Ideally, this is where a conventional film would have ended. The kid escapes, saves his mother with the help of the police, and they live happily ever after, but that is where this film actually starts, and post their escape it is an intense emotional rollercoaster ride that leaves you gasping  for air by the time it ends.

“You’re gonna love it.” She tells him.

“What?” he asks.

“The World” she says.

But what she didn’t know that will she be able to love it?

“I am supposed to be happy.” says Joy (Brie Larson, I would not mind you taking that trophy home, at all.) to her mother at the beginning of a heated argument. She doesn’t know how to deal with her freedom. Everything has changed, from her own family to the world around her. People moved on, life went on. Living for 7 years in a contained space with a crushing hope that one day you might be able to look as far as your eyes can see instead of an impenetrable steel wall four feet away can leave you with severe PTSD. Plus she is worried about her child. She wants him to play with toys and connect with people, of which he is not capable of, not yet. Her mother and step father (Tom McCamus, a brief but wonderful cameo) are patient. They know he will come around, but Joy is impatient, and her interview with a news channels doesn’t really help things.

This film, in terms of narrative, explored an unchartered territory. We are used to seeing the victorious (or sometimes failed) escape of our heroes and that’s when the credits starts to roll. We are not used to seeing these people getting assimilated in the world again, and that’s where the magic lies. Showing us the struggle of Joy and Jake getting used to ‘space’ is where Emma Donoghue’s screenplay shines bright. For Jake, it’s easier coz he is still ‘plastic’ (read moldable) as per the doctor (“I am not plastic” he opposes in Ma’ ear) but Ma is not plastic, and she has to deal with not only her own loneliness but Jake’s as well.

The world is too much for Jake. He can’t handle this vast expanse of nothingness around him at such a tender age (“There’s so much of place in the world. There’s less time because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter.”). He, at multiple times, asks if they can go back to the room coz he misses it sometimes. They do visit it one last time before saying their final goodbyes. “Say Bye to the room, Ma” tells Jake to Ma, and Brie Larson lets out an almost silent “Bye Room” under her breath. This time they don’t see the Room as the world they inhabited for 5 years but as a cell stripped off of everything that could have reminded them of their past. The flush, Jack’s ocean with boats and ships is gone, and so is the bed and mattress on which they used to sleep. The door is ajar, and the kitchen is ruined. This cathartic visit ends their ordeal coz Room literally doesn’t exist anymore.

The film leaves you emotionally drained with wet eyes and a runny nose but happy. Happy to have witnessed such an incredibly moving parable of an inexplicably strong bond between parent and child. This film rests at top with “Mad Max” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (another tear jerker) as my personal favorite from last year, and I don’t think any other film would be able to come close because I don’t think any other film will be able to have as much soul as these three.

Would like to leave you with this featurette that should tell you how amazing a chemistry these two share, even in real life

Go watch it for the kid, we don’t get to see such prodigies that often.

–  Avinash Verma

Mumbai Film Festival – our annual movie ritual is on. And like every year, we are going to cover the festival like nobody else does it. moiFightClub regulars and readers will bring you all the day’s reccos and reviews.


Impressions :

So all Bombay-based movie buffs’ saalana urs, karvachauth, maah-e-ramzaan, navratri all rolled into one started today. The process of collection of badges and booklet/bag was very smooth and BookMyShow folks are doing a great job. Also the bag this year looks very aesthetic and sturdy. “Sabziyaan laane ke kaam aa sakta hai” in the long run.

On the screening front, films were on time and ran smoothly except for the morning slots where two films got postponed due to technical issues. But I don’t think many complained as they were replaced by additional-screenings of Sorrentino’s YOUTH.

In a way, YOUTH turned out to be the ‘Murder’ of Day 1. As the legend goes, many small town cinema halls in North India keep a print or ‘Murder’ with them always and whenever a big-film flops on Monday, they put up ‘Murder’ and it gets them the audience.

I managed to catch 3 films today.

Heavenly Nomadic (Original title: SUTAK) by Mirlan Abdykalykov

This Kyrgistani film was my random replacement option for the postponed Lobster (which I caught later in the day), and it wasn’t a bad choice. A tribal nomadic family of a little girl living with her mother and grandparents in the stunning rolling-plains of Kyrgistan, where every one is dealing with the death of the girl’s father in his/her own way made for a (film festival jargon mein kahein toh) ‘meditative’, quaint little film. The myths of nomads, the modernity knocking their ancient hills down, the collision of civilisations so to say – all was weaved in quite effortlessly here.

Realistic performances, great sound design and cinematography, and a script of simple ambitions. Not mind-blowing but nothing to dislike here.

Mountains May Depart (Original title: Shan He Gu Ren) by Jia Zhangke

Jia Zhangke’s last film – A TOUCH OF SIN – was very powerful so the expectations were high from this one. It didn’t leave me disappointed but quite dissatisfied. Divided in 3 parts, spanning 26-years in the lives of its characters (last part is set in 2025!) originating from small-town China, it again looks at the country’s social-political dilemmas (chasing America/Capitalism while trying to retain its own legacy) through Zhangke’s allegorical episodes. The first part involving a love triangle especially looked like a bad Hindi film from the 90s (‘Saajan’ instantly came to mind). The film gets better as it goes on and the third episode is the best, both technically as well as in its ambition.

The film keeps switching POVs and that’s a victory of sorts for the director to keep it all tied together in spite of this device, but it also keeps the viewer unsettled throughout.

The Lobster by Yargos Lanthimos

Simply brilliant! A futuristic dystopian look at relationships but via allegorical devices so twisted that it looks like a Kubrick-directed episode of SNL’s ‘Lowered Expectations’ sketch. Revealing anything of the plot will be an unnecessary hindrance to your experience so go into this one blank and be ready for a bullet through your brain & testicles/ovaries. Deeply funny, insightful, and subversive – and at the same time, a perfectly crafted relationship drama. Last chunk gets a bit drawn out, but all genius has space for (as Fabindia calls them) hand-crafted defects.

And ah, it stars some really big names in relatively minor roles. Unmissable.

– Varun Grover

The Train Leaves At Four (Train Chaar Baje Ki Hai) by Antariksh Jain
(Disclaimer – walked in 3-4 min late)

This slow minimal documentary spends maximum time allowing the protagonists – the villagers going about their daily lives, and is a candid capture of the atmosphere and mundaness in a remote village in Madhya Pradesh. The director seems to have let the family members be and dubbed their voices/conversations later. Many frames & scenes are particularly noteworthy – the two villagers talking about their children escaping the ‘trap’ of farming by studying; the child trying to quench her thirst somewhat inefficiently from the hand-pump while the lazy students are seated in the background in the run down school; the one scene where one of the brothers teaches his toddler the skill that has been passed on from generations to generations in his family – how to ensnare a murga using twigs & stones; the desire to escape someplace better than this village in which nothing happens; the women folk their food gathering activities; and the pre-climax sequence involving the overburdened train at the station. In the absence of a narration this does prove to be a difficult watch but the subject matter is so depressing that one cannot help not being moved by it. As we call it at mFC, this is Need-Some-Patience genre.

Mountains May Depart (Shānhé gùrén) by Zhanke Jia

Directed by Zhanke Jia who made the eccentric but arresting Touch Of Sin earlier, this one is divided into three chapters. Do NOT BE DISAPPOINTED BY the 1st chapter which turns out to be a 70s/80s Hindi film love triangle, but if you stay long enough, the other two chapters have enough drama & life to make up for the 1st one. People move on, relationships change, Life doesn’t have great occurrences but usually indifferent and cold instances/events, Parents & Children who almost never seem to be reciprocating their feelings/thoughts to one another simultaneously, an unusual romantic track – may be in retrospect I’m being too lenient to this film. But do watch it.

The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos

Something tells me this is one of the most f***ed up films of MAMI 2015. What a delightfully black humored watch from the director of Dogtooth. More an ‘exploration’ than a destination film, this one boasts of excellent writing, cinematography, performances from everyone. Shuru kaahaan hoti hai, aur kahaan se kahaan jaati hai – is incredible. DO NOT MISS THIS at any cost.

– @nagrathnam

Jia Zhangke: A Guy From Fenyang by Walter Salles

Walter Salles’s essay on the very personal roots of Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke’s cinema – Jia has won worldwide acclaim for his films yet most of them remain banned in China.

This film explores how the insularity & deprivation of Jia’s early years came to influence the social-realism of his cinema. This is a sparse & simply told documentary with a lot of Jia in it & a lot of clips from his old films. Luckily Jia is a warm, charming & humane presence & his personality dictates the tone of the film as well. I was engrossed & fascinated despite not being too familiar with his work. Unexpected pleasure was the sight of Jia singing ‘Awaara hunn’!

@sumit roy

From Afar (Desde allá) by Lorenzo Vigas

Debutant director Lorenzo Vigas’ strikes unique right from the first minute of the film. While the narrative is kept relatively simple and minimal, the distinct use of shallow focus to establish the alienated spheres of the characters is what makes it intriguing. Have hardly seen lensing used so uniquely to build scenes through the cumulative elements of each shot. Not once(hope my memory serves me right) does the focus shift from one character to the other, much like the dormant fear of relationships each character shares. Must watch!


Land And Shade (La tierra y la sombra) by César Augusto Acevedo

With all the fest-bait adjectives of long shot, languid pace, leisurely treatment, devoid of colours, this one is of uncompromising vision and an assured debut. The director César Augusto Acevedo channels his inner ghosts to bring out a poignant story of a family dealing with loss – of land and relationship. No wonder it picked up the Camera d’Or at Cannes.

Room by Lenny Abrahamson

A heartwarming tale of a mother-son duo who have been held captive in a “Room”. As you keep wondering where will the film move next, it keeps surprising you, and achieves the closure in a beautiful manner, raising some difficult moral questions along the way. Adapted from Emma Donoghue’s novel, this film belongs to child actor Jacob Tremblay who is absolutely stunning in every scene. This one is a Must Watch.

– @notsosnob