Room Is the Whole World for Jack and His Mom
- In 2009 a story came to light about Jaycee Lee Dugard who, at 11 years old, had been kidnapped off the street in 1991, near her house in South Lake Tahoe, California. Her captor kept her in a room in a shed on his property and fathered two children with her.
- Between 2002 and 2004, three young women, Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, were kidnapped in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. They were subsequently imprisoned until 2013.
- In 2014 there was a story about a man who was accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl in 2004, then sexually assaulting her over a decade.
Room, the Book
Ripped from the Headlines
Unfortunately, as odd, unusual, or random as these stories may sound, they are all true, and — horribly — not as rare as they might sound. Based on the 2011 by novelEmma Donoghue, this tells the exceptional tale of Jack (Tremblay), a spirited 5 year-old who, along with his mother (Larson), lives in a single room. The room is all Jack knows, because (unbeknownst to him), his mother was kidnapped by the man they call Old Knick (Sean Bridgers) and both have been kept prisoner in the shack that forms the room.
Given that he doesn’t know anything else Lack is actually okay with all of this, but his mother — who has dedicated herself to keeping Jack happy and safe, nurturing him with warmth and love and doing typical things like playing games and telling stories — is growing frustrated with their situation. Still, given that they are trapped in a windowless, 10-by-10-by-10-foot space, which they simply refer to as “Room” it is a wonder that either of them are reasonable well-adjusted at all. However, as Jack’s curiosity about their situation grows, his mother reaches her breaking point, and she concocts a risky escape plan.
Mom and Jack in Room
It takes a bit of doing, but she does manage to convince Jack that there is stuff outside the room and that they need to get outside of Room to go there. Once the plan is in place, the pair do manage to make good their escape, but now the really heard part comes into play, as they both have to begin to cope with the outside world. Jack’s mother for the first time in seven years, and Jack for the first time in his life. Once they are rescued, she is reunited with her (now estranged) parents, it becomes difficult for Jack’s mother to readjust to reality.
View from the top
This is not the Life We Want
This is a difficult film to watch. Even though it is based on a novel, we all know that this type of situation happens all too often for it to be taken lightly, and as we move through the narrative, it is unknown what will occur or how it will play out. As the film starts you can feel the uncertainty of the situation as well as the claustrophobic nature of the room. For her part, Jack’s mother has become resigned to her current situation while Jack simply doesn’t know any better. For him, Room is the entirety of the world, and as he knows of nothing else, this is good enough for him. Still the whole situation is compellingly creepy, and ultimately disturbing that not only could this sort of injustice could occur in the first place, but that that it actually does, and that she was so close but no one found her for so long.
(Unfortunately), it's not just a Movie
This is the kind of film that not only commands itself to be watched, but (hopefully) raises awareness as well. For her role as Jack’s mother, Brie Larson received an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. The film itself was also nominated for three other Awards; Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Direction, and Best Picture.
Love is all
“When I was four, I didn't even know about the world, and now me and ma are going to live in it forever and ever until we're dead.”
Clip from Room
© 2016 Robert J Sodaro