— Posted by Alyssa
Sometimes we figuratively create barriers around ourselves. However, it’s another thing entirely to see literal walls forcing imprisonment. It’s extraordinary to see how human adaptability and strength can make a small world seem huge. That is precisely how it feels inside Room, an infectious, beautifully-crafted marvel that shows the resilience of human nature and the value of being able to journey outside of the box.
Joy (an astounding Larson) has been trapped inside a suburban garden shed since the age of 17 when she was abducted by a predatory, seemingly normal man who goes by Old Nick. Joy shares this backstory with her son Jack (Tremblay, a force to be reckoned with) when he is five years old. Joy gave birth to Jack after being in captivity for two years. Her son is a ray of light in Joy’s otherwise soul-crushing existence. He personifies Room and makes it a place that he shares with his mother. It is the only world he knows. Even though Jacob is happy inside of Room, Joy shares with him all that exists outside of their walls. She tells him that part of the world he sees on TV is actually real. Jack, knowing only the walls that surround him, is naturally skeptical of this “imaginary” world. However, Joy is able to convince him of its existence. The outside world offers a reality where he no longer only has to have gifts on Sunday, and he can have a room that isn’t inside of a wardrobe. In order to escape, Joy has to devise a risky scheme that temporarily separates her from her son. This scheme proves worth it when Joy and Jack are able to receive the help they need. Joy believes that she will find happiness in her escape. However, the psychological damage caused by Room proves to take a toll on Joy’s joy. The walls also exist inside of her head. Now she’s caught in a crossroads. She needs to learn how to be a mother outside of the shed and allow her son to have a life away from her. He needs separation from his mother in order to grow into the bigger space that he is now afforded.
As much as this is a suspenseful, gripping film, it also has interesting commentary on motherhood, childhood, adulthood, and the nature of growing within the walls of all three. We are confined to our roles in all three states of being once we cross certain thresholds. How are Joy and Jack supposed to function when their growth was literally confined? In the hands of lesser performers and writers, this could have easily been an exploitative film for those who are hypnotized by the evening news. But thanks to the transformative performances and convincing chemistry of Larson and Tremblay, as well as the sharp writing by Room’s novelist Emma Donoghue, Room is a profound, gripping character study that will resonate with its viewers.
— Posted by Alyssa
The recent controversy surrounding this year’s Academy Awards has sparked understandable debate. After all, this is 2016. Aren’t we passed this?
I don’t think anyone wants things to just change. To clarify, we don’t want to see a plethora of diverse nominees next year because the Academy is operating under the pretension that they don’t want a target on their backs. In other words, a wide-range of performers will be nominated just to quiet the hoopla. That would be like putting a band-aid on a bullet hole. There is a deep-seated, underlying issue that needs to be addressed. This issue exists not just in the Academy, but in the larger social world. All of this controversy stems from one problem—we are still segregating certain people from other people. It may not be segregation in a blatant and obvious way, but it’s still segregation. I don’t think people want things to just change. Rather, I think everyone wants change. A change in mentality, a change in the existential social order, and overall, a change in the way that we see each other. That’s what we want.
Keeping this in mind, let’s address another way that the Academy is keeping people separate from people—the separate nominations for “Best Actress” versus “Best Actor” and “Best Supporting Actress” from “Best Supporting Actor”. Why can’t there just be a “Best Performer?”
Now I know this will increase competition among the performers, but who cares? Let me reiterate—it’s 2016. We live in a world where a woman can undoubtedly outperform a man, within any respective field. It boils down to skill set, personality, and who you know. Whether you have a penis or a vagina is beside the point.
The domino to start with is the Academy Awards. This is the film business; people who are in the public eye. Tip this domino over, bring necessary change to its structure, and other institutions responsible for shaping our culture will likely follow. If we can have up to 10 Best Picture nominees, then we can have 10 performers in a “Best Performer” category. And while we’re at it, if an individual warrants the accolade, we can have 10 performers of diverse ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, and gender identifications be nominated for Best Performer. Movies have the power to bring about social change. I think its time that the business definitively proves it.
Overall, pretty well…
Seth Macfarlane was a dashing gentleman (although the song and dance numbers were slightly disappointing). No stiff foreign movie took over all the prizes (I’m talking to you Amour). And there were barely any mishaps aside from poor Jennifer Lawrence who fell when going to claim her prize for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Hey, it only proves she’s human right?
I’d say it was a success. Any jokes that Macfarlane made that didn’t land right he’d relieve the tension. My personal favorite:
Seth Macfarlane: “[Daniel Day-Lewis] is the first person to get into Abraham Lincoln’s head since John Wilkes Booth.”
Audience: collectively “oooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh”
Seth Macfarlane: “What?! 150 years later and still too soon?”
Here’s to hoping that the Academy keeps picking good hosts, that Macfarlane’s career blossoms, and Lawrence gets another chance to redeem herself.