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By Megan Bianco
Every award season has an underdog, and this year it appears to be quickly forming into Brie Larson. Formerly a child actor, Larson is regarded in the film community for her work in dramas such as Short Term 12 (2013) and recognized by the general public for such comedies as 21 Jump Street (2012). Now she’s rightfully gaining her highest acclaim yet for her performance in Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s Room.
The story follows the surreal tale of Joy (Larson) and her 5-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who are confined to a 10-foot by 10-foot empty shed that Joy has turned into as much of a home as possible. The only other person Jack has seen in his life is a man named Nick (Sean Bridgers) who brings them food and supplies. That is until one day Joy suddenly has had enough of their seclusion.
Joan Allen and William H. Macy appear as Joy’s parents. Room is a film that depends almost entirely on its lead actors because so much of the film takes place in a single space. Larson proves her acting versatility and Tremblay delivers one of the best debut performances by a child with little to work with other than Larson as his co-star and his own emotions. Irish director Abrahamson is a curious choice after the indie comedy Frank last year, but his direction is subtle and aids in showing the fear and pain on the characters’ faces. Room is a deep subject, but deserves the acclaim.