Room

‘Room’ begins with a scene of a mother and her young son getting on with domestic life and shows some of the various flights of fancy in the son’s vivid imagination. It very quickly becomes clear that a man referred to as ‘Old Nick’ has had them confined to one small bedsit room for a number of years with only a skylight to glimpse the outside world.

Rather than showing the traumatic act of confinement or the initial period, the story cuts straight to an almost settled situation and concentrates on the relationship between mother Joy (Brie Larson) and 5 year old son Jack (Jason Tremblay) and particularly Jacks expansive imagination and ability to find amusements in the blandest of unchanging surroundings and harshest of situations.

It’s principally a display of a wonderful parent-child relationship in horrible circumstances. Joy initially insulates Jack from the situation but when he is old enough has to come clean and ask for him to help in attempting to escape.

It is a very moving and also life affirming film and I was really concerned for both of the characters at a point midway through the film, a sure sign of how involved I was with them. It may be that it has less of an impact of you are not a parent yourself though.

The third act of the film doesn’t shy away from confronting the difficulties of the trauma yet it ultimately manages to find reason to be optimistic.

Fantastic performances from both of the protagonists make it a film to look out for, but a dark subject matter.

4 on 5

Info
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H Macy
UK Release: 15th January 2016

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Trainwreck

Rising comedy star from New York Amy Schumer stars in this comedy which she wrote and Judd Apatow directed. (Not sure which of these people is “the guy who brought you Bridesmaids” which was a film directed by Paul Feig and written by Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig, but there you go!)

It starts off with a flashback to the young Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) and her sister Kim (Brie Larson) being told by their Dad that he and their Mum are separating. He tells them monogamy is completely unrealistic and it’s a lesson that Amy takes to heart. Cut to 20-odd years later and Amy is playing the field and partying hard, despite currently having a boyfriend Steven (John Cena). Steven is a bit of a naive beefcake, and actually a very amusing character as his attempts to look tough often result in very funny Freudian slips. In contrast, Kim has ignored her Dad’s words and is settling down and making a family.

Amy works at a lads mag and is sent to interview sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader) for an article. They enjoy each other’s company and the main focus of the film is set.

It starts off refreshingly funny and a little different feeling, there are some very funny characters and situations despite some awkward exchanges on race, but it slots into a surprisingly well trodden path before too long. Some of the supporting characters are good (Leabron James is one) but other famous athlete and sports-commentator cameos are completely lost on a non-US viewer and feel awkwardly shoe-horned in, as do some of the plot developments.

Overall, funny in places but patchy. A disappointingly standard rom-com with the funny scenes not quite interwoven into a good film.

3 on 5

Info
Director: Judd Apatow
UK Release: 14th August 2015
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Vanessa Bayer, Mike Birbiglia, Ezra Miller, Tilda Swinton, LeBron James