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Opening Date
14 Jan 2016
PG13 Some Coarse Language
118 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Lenny Abrahamson
Brie Larson, Joan Allen, William H. Macy
Both highly suspenseful and deeply emotional, ROOM is a unique and touching exploration of the boundless love between a mother and her child.

After 5-year-old Jack and his Ma escape from the enclosed surroundings that Jack has known his entire life, the boy makes a thrilling discovery: the outside world. As he experiences all the joy, excitement, and fear that this new adventure brings, he holds tight to the one thing that matters most of all—his special bond with his loving and devoted Ma.
By Eternality Tan  18 Jan 2016
Dramatic, saccharine and suspenseful, this well-acted and periodically fascinating film soars to a high point, but can't quite push itself to be truly astonishing.
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"You're gonna love it."
"The world."
With a performance that is sure to bring her the Academy Award for Best Leading Actress (barring a not-so-upsetting upset by Charlotte Rampling of 45 Years (2015)), the emerging Brie Larson, whose breakthrough came in the 2013 drama Short Term 12, gives another terrific acting display as Ma, the mother of a 5-year old boy named Jack (Jacob Tremblay). 
For much of the first hour, Jack and his Ma are stuck in a small room, and as we will learn, they have been forcibly kept there for five and seven years respectively.  The disturbing nature of their predicament seeps into the narrative, always threatening to bring dark clouds in what is a fairly inspiring picture about self-discovery and the unconditional love that both mother and son enjoy. 
It is this balance of inspiration and trauma that makes Room interesting to watch.  Written by Emma Donoghue based on her novel of the same name, Room impresses with its conceptual originality, creatively telling an affecting story that could have manifested itself as one of those typical crime movies about a perverse man keeping a woman locked away in his basement or attic (it is, thankfully, not that kind of picture). 
However, it must be said that the use of music can be rather manipulative, which in my opinion is one of the setbacks of the viewing experience.  The use of loud, heavy strings tend to overdramatize when a quieter and more contemplative approach might fare better in some of the scenes.  Really, the worst part comes right at the end in the closing scene.
At times suspenseful, especially in its first act, and dramatic, there’s still an underlying sweetness to the film, a sort of saccharine mother-son effect that provides much calm and levity to the proceedings.  The director Lenny Abrahamson also largely avoids the more serious psychological implications that would affect the two victimized characters. 
Some will find Room to be refreshing, even ingenious, while others (like myself) will find it periodically fascinating only to a point.  There’s a feeling that the film can’t quite push itself to be truly astonishing.  It didn’t take my breath away, but this is the kind of movie that more mainstream moviegoers should make it a point to see.  It would liberate them.
Verdict:  Dramatic, saccharine and suspenseful, this well-acted and periodically fascinating film soars to a high point, but can't quite push itself to be truly astonishing.
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By Flora  14 Jan 2016
Larson and Tremblay are the soul and heart of Room, a tale of hope, love and survival.
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Imagine living in a room with just four walls, a small bed, a tub, a basin, and a flickering old television; only a ceiling window that brings a light of hope each brand new day. There’s no Wi-fi in the room, much less any technology gadgets, and certainly no freedom.

At five, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is your average little boy who desires sweets, toy cars and blowing out candles on his birthday. He lives with Ma (Brie Larson) who makes up scenarios about the world ‘out there’; on what’s real and fake, painting a beautiful picture about his current standards. What Jack doesn’t know is that the room he is living in all his life, is just a small, small piece in the world. The tangible objects he says hello to every morning are his everything, and the rats that scour for food are his friends. 

Room is based on Emma Donoghue, who wrote the acclaimed novel, and the film’s screenplay, is an emotional-tugging film that strips down all its flashiness into a raw and moving story about one’s will to survive. Director Lenny Abrahamson sets the film’s tone with psychological precision and a dose of realism. The horrific thought of ‘what happens if I were Ma?’ or ‘what happens if Ma is someone I loved dearly?’, never stops ringing at the back of my head. 

There’s a whole explosion of emotions while watching a film like Room. It isn’t how she was abused, but the process of mental torture that she endured for years. You empathise with Ma, but at the same time, the selfish thought of ‘luckily it’s not me’ idea stays in you. You quickly fall in love with the 5-year-old Jack, who tries to mingle and fit in as a normal boy, but you get frustrated along with Ma for missing out her prime years during her capture. All these overwhelming surge of emotions can only be attributed to the brilliant narrative that sucks you right into the story. 

Larson, who recently won the Best Actress award for her character as Ma, is spot-on and perfect in every way. She maintains a sense of resilience and determination, but at the same time showing her registration to fate. The idea of escaping never left her mind, and her confused thoughts are reflected in her performance. We are rooting for her to snag that Oscar as well. 

The core essence of the film lies in the hands of nine-year-old Tremblay, who is probably one of the best child actor we’ve seen so far. Jack is forced to grow up quickly; to understand things he wouldn’t have realised if not for his Ma. Perhaps it’s the dialogue Donoghue had written for Jack that it doesn’t steal away the innocence of a child. 

Abrahamson never diverts the attention away from his two lead characters: Ma and Jack, who are an inseparable pair even when they left the room. She helps him to conjure up his fantasies and believe in the goodness of the world; as much as he helps her to stay sane. The balance of power shifts from Ma to Jack, who is still ‘plastic’, when they transit to the real world. Ma thinks she will be happy after her release, but can’t explain her inner grievance and self-pity that is taking over. 

Room is one of those films that is a challenge to watch because it is so raw and painful to see the powerful portrayal of post-traumatic stress disorder that happens to the mother and son. Despite the 2-hour long duration, which felt a tad long at times, the film tells an inspiring story about hope and survival.  
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