Brie Larson, over the last couple of years, has slowly been climbing the ranks of the best young actresses. She had decent supporting roles in films like 21 Jump Street and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, drew accolades with a lead performance in 2013’s powerful indie drama Short Term 12, and then drew more notice as Amy Schumer’s sister in this summer’s hit Trainwreck.
She may not quite be a household name yet, but thanks to her latest role, we may finally be on the cusp of a Brie Larson breakout. It’s Room, a family drama and adaptation of a popular novel from 2010 by Emma Donoghue, concerning a mother and son who spent five years trapped in a single, small room. The film has been drawing considerable buzz, based on its teaser trailer back in June and very positive early critical reactions from its premiere this week at the Telluride Film Festival.
Currently, Room - based on an adapted screenplay penned by Donoghue - boasts a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score (after the first nine reviews). Some examples include the following (click the respective links for the full reviews):
Time Out - David Ehrlich
Faithfully adapted from Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel of the same name, the film reveals its layers when Joy is reunited with her stunned parents (Joan Allen and William H. Macy), who divorced in the wake of her abduction. Forced to resume her role as a daughter, Joy is powerless to reconcile the needle skip of returning to real life with the challenge of introducing her son to it, and Larson’s ability to articulate the excruciating limbo of being suspended between two generations is a thing to behold
Variety - Justin Chang:
The cramped 11-by-11-foot interior of a sealed, sound-proof garden shed isn’t the only thing keeping a boy and his mother prisoner in “Room,” a suspenseful and heartrending drama that finds perhaps the most extreme possible metaphor for how time, regret and the end of childhood can make unknowing captives of us all.
Hitfix - Gregory Ellwood:
Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room” is simply a movie about mother and son trying to adapt to the outside world after years of forced captivity. And the surprise is how succinctly it captures this drastic life change from the perspective of five-year-old.
Also this week, there’s a full-length trailer for Room, one just as tense and dramatic as the teaser. The new trailer also delves more deeply into what happens when the film's two main characters (played by Larson and Jacob Tremblay) eventually get out of the eponymous room - and that getting out and emerging back into the world provides a whole new set of harrowing challenges.
Room has a similar plot setup as the popular Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, with a young woman adjusting to life on the outside after escaping captivity in a small space - of course, the tone and genre is completely different here. Multiple Oscar pundits, including Gold Derby’s Paul Sheehan, Indiewire’s Anne Thompson and THR’s Scott Feinberg, have talked up Larson’s awards chances, while also praising child actor Jacob Tremblay.
The film has a lot going for it, including what does appear to be a strong performance from Larson that - in depicting her caring for a vulnerable child - recalls her best work, in Short Term 12. The director is Lenny Abrahamson, also responsible for one of 2014’s most surprisingly wonderful films, Frank, and it boasts standout supporting actors like William H. Macy and Joan Allen. Still, if the releases of Dope and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl taught us anything this year, it’s that the films that kill at festivals don’t always resonate as much with the general public. We'll see how Room fares, in that respect.
Room will play the Toronto Film Festival this week, before a limited opening October 16th, 2015 and a wider one November 6th, 2015.