Room is not just a film. but an experience. Both a nightmare and a fairytale, I found myself occasionally laughing while on the edge of crying. An adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s acclaimed novel, and penned by the author herself, Room examines the special connection between mother and child. Part captivity thriller and part heart-wrenching familial drama, Room pushes a lot of tough emotional buttons.

Twenty-something Ma (Brie Larson), has been trapped in a 11-by-11 foot shed for seven years. Kidnapped and held captive by a man she’s come to refer to as Old Nick (Sean Bridgers). Ma’s reason for living is her five 5-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), whose entire world has consisted of the tiny room, and the few things it contains. The story is most often told from Jack’s point of view. Ma has made sure he has remained unaware that the two are prisoners in the shed. He greets common household items—the refrigerator, the lamp, the rug—as if they were close family friends; “Room” is the only reality and the stuff he sees on television is fake. In a way, for Jack, “Room” is an extension of Ma’s womb, as he’s never left her view. Ma does her best to provide a life for Jack. They even share some light hearted moments. Director Lenny Abrahamson and cinematographer Danny Cohen shoot the small space so it appears larger than it is, in the way a small child might see it. This makes it easier to understand why Jack seems content to stay there forever. However, underneath her practiced smile, it’s clear that Ma is struggling to keep it all together.

It just a few days after Jack’s fifth birthday when Old Nick delivers the news that he’s been laid off. Fearing that he will kill them rather than set them free, Ma knows she must make a plan to free Jack, and if possible, herself. One plan is scratched at the last minute, but the one that’s put into motion will both thrilling and terrifying as it unfolds.

The second half of the movie deals with life outside of Room. Ma (whose name we now know is Joy Newsome) with everything she’s gone through as well as changes to the outside world. while Jack must adapt to a world he never really knew existed. As much as Joy wants to simply connect to her old life, something new grows out of tragedy. Jack is simply trying to make sense of it all. He asks his mother, “Are we in another planet?” “Same one. Just a different spot.” She replies.

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay are both amazing, particularly in the first half. They both run the gamut of emotions, and always seem real about it. Though Jacob Tremblay was only eight at the time of filming he gives one of the best performances on film I think I’ve ever seen. He never overplays a scene, and handles the dramatic weight of it all with ease. Brie Larson deserved all the accolades she received for her work here. Highly recommended.

Presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, this 1080p transfer presents ‘Room’ as it’s meant to be seen: dark, dank, and bleak, with just the small dim lighting Joy and Jack have available. When the two finally move outside of “Room’ things are much brighter and always appear appropriate. The image is clean and there is no DNR or other related issues to report.

Given the subject matter, the 5.1 DTS Master Audio is a tad overpowering at times, especially with occasional surges of Stephen Rennick’s wistful score. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout.

English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Lenny Abrahamson, Cinematographer Danny Cohen, Editor Nathan Nugent and Production Designer Ethan Tobman: While the commentary deals with a lot of the technical aspects of pulling off a film like this, there is some discussion of the casting, actors, story, and themes.
  • Making Room (HD, 12:03) Rather EPK in nature, we get some thoughts on the adaptation, casting, and top notch performances.
  • 11 x 11 (HD, 9:06) A look at the production design, with emphasis on the 11 x 11 shed.
  • Recreating Room (HD, 4:23) We are shown the 11′ x 11′ set being installed in Los Angeles’ Landmark Theatre last fall with comments from production designer Ethan Tobman, and some slow motion footage.
  • UV Digital Copy.