Well, maybe it’s an overstatement, because even though sitting in the cinema I kept thinking that I wish I liked it more, two weeks has passed since then and I’m still thinking about it. I actually have been recommending this film to everyone I feel appreciates good films and like every sane person, I am cheering for Brie Larson to win Oscar for her performance this year. And yet, there is a certain emptiness in me when I think about Room (do not mistake it with The Room – this never left me feeling empty, even for a second). You see, I really really wanted to love this film and I only liked it.
But the story starts way before, on the day I finished the book which the film is based on. If you haven’t read it yet, too late – now you can probably only get the awful film cover (the poster is nice, but putting film posters on the covers of the books is just horrible, I think – as if the book itself didn’t have a personality unless we give it the one of the film). I’m not sure why I decided to read it – it might be simply because…well, I heard so much good about the film which was showed during LFF and everyone went crazy about it. I got it on Kindle and I was done in the next three days. I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it for a second, so I read it in the same way people watch the Game of Thrones episodes.
Everything I loved about the book was indeed in the film – it doesn’t surprise me, because the authors herself wrote the script. Reading each scene I had it right in front of my eyes, which in my case, isn’t very usual – I suffer from lack of visual imagination. Also, I began to watch the trailer. Obsessively. At some point the images from the trailer combined with those from the book, which created the ultimate and the perfect product.
How I imagined the film? Well, I imagined it greyer and darker. Even though I could tell from the trailer that Larson’s teeth weren’t as rotten as her literary equivalent, I still believed they could have done it better. Also, the book is about the incredible relationship between the mother and the son – so strong it’s painful. The balance keeps switching too – she doesn’t want to leave him for a moment, but sometimes we wonder if it isn’t the result of the situation they are in. In Room, nothing is ever safe.
The balance changes when they manage to escape. Suddenly, the mother is back to her old world – the world in which she was a childless teenager last. The book handles her struggle so well – she is treated like a little girl by both of her parents (her father refusing to accept the son), her friends have had some sort of lives she now learns all about it. Suddenly it could be once again about her, but of course, it cannot be.
The son reacts to her changing by strengthening his bond with her. He puts a rotten tooth in his mouth she loses in Room and keeps it there at all time. This is a substitute of sucking her breastmilk, which she continues to do even though he’s five already.
The last scene in the book is both beautiful and heart-ripping. It is exactly what had to happen and yet, we already feel so sentimental towards the past even though the future seems much brighter in comparison. It might be because the book has more time to explore these ideas, but the film is generally really short, so it feels like if it was longer, there would be a chance to cover them in much more detail.
The film, of course, discusses the struggle, but does it in a much softer way. That said, it is still dark and disturbing, but there’s also so much hope in it, we know the characters will be fine. The book was hopeful, but there were moments when I thought some scars would never heal.
Still, I recommend Room to everyone, especially because it is a result of masterful directing, amazing acting and incredible storytelling. But if you want to choose, always choose the book. First. And then, the film.