Watching Resolution: Room (2015)

7. A film based on a book: Room (2015)

List Progress: 1/12

Trigger warning: rape, abduction.

What better way to start out my 2018 list than with some harrowing trauma and misery? On a whim, I watched the 2015 film Room last night, based on the novel by Emma Donoghue, who also wrote the screenplay. I have not read the novel, but I had heard a lot about this movie. It is about a young woman who has been held captive in a small enclosed room for seven years, where she has given birth to a son, who at the age of five has never seen the outside world and has no conception that anything exists beyond the walls of his home. The story is told from the son, Jack’s, perspective, and the first half is of the movie is almost entirely dialogue between Jack and Ma in their claustrophobic little home. And it is So. Good. The second half suffers a bit in trying to be too neat, but on the whole it was a great way to spend two painful hours.

Given how much of the film is just two actors, the whole thing is grounded by the performances of Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as Jack, who was eight years old during filming. And this is really one of the best performances I’ve seen out of a child actor. Jack feels like a real kid, from his cutest moments to his most obnoxious lashing out, and his and Ma’s relationship inside Room is great to watch. The back end of the film feels weaker when Jack is made a little too inspirational and cute to balance out the turmoil Ma is going through, but it is still a great showing from both actors.

The subject matter should make it clear that this movie comes with some trigger warnings. Ma was kidnapped as a teenager and has been held by her rapist for seven years, with Jack’s conception as one of the results. Nothing explicit or gratuitous is shown on screen, and I really respect how the director, Lenny Abrahamson, filmed some things: Ma is shown comfortably bathing in a bathtub with Jack, but it is never played for titillation and she is never shown undressed or sexualized in relation to her attacker. Her brutal reality is kept on the edge’s of Jack’s awareness, shown more through Brie Larson’s raw, emotional performance than by any voyeuristic camera work. It is a delicate, respectful depiction of a victim and makes for a great movie.

Despite being a bit unbalanced and weaker in the back half, I definitely recommend watching Room. Just go in prepared for a hard watch.

Would I Recommend It: Yes, definitely.

Introducing my Reading and Watching Resolution Lists!

Happy New Years! So for the last couple of years, I have set a New Year’s Reading Resolution for myself, along with a couple of friends. We read books that fit in certain categories, in an attempt to push the boundaries of our reading habits, and write up little reviews of what we have read. As the year is starting fresh with a new list, I have decided to share my book reviews here, to hopefully spark some good literary discussion in 2018.

In addition, I am giving myself the extra challenge of a movie-watching list as well; I will be the first to admit that I have lost the determination to sit down for full movies, and I hope this will push me to try more of the medium over the course of the year.

If you would like to try this list for yourself, feel free to jump in. I will be updating this post as I complete parts of the list. I wish you all a happy year full of good reading and viewing!

2018 Reading Resolution


  1. A book written in North/Central America: Awfully Devoted Women: Lesbian Lives in Canada, 1900-65 by Cameron Duder
  2. A book written in South America:
  3. A book written in East Asia: My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi
  4. A book written in South Asia:
  5. A book written in Africa: The Hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu
  6. A book written in the Middle East:
  7. A book written in Australia/Oceania
  8. A book written in Europe/Russia:
  9. A book recommended by someone: Sourdough by Robin Sloan
  10. A biography: Where Am I Now?: True Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson
  11. A non-fiction book: On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman
  12. A collection of short stories: Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures edited by Elly Blue
  13. A collection of poetry:
  14. A play:
  15. A graphic novel:
  16. A book older than 100 years: The Knight of the Burning Pestle by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher
  17. A debut novel: Behrouz Gets Lucky by Avery Cassell
  18. A novel by a famous author, other than the one(s) they are best known for:
  19. A book we have lied about reading:
  20. A book we read in high school/college and hated:
  21. A book we read in high school/college/law school and loved:
  22. A book by an author you have never given a fair shot: The Shining by Stephen King
  23. A 2017-2018 New York Times bestseller:
  24. A book you’ve started but never finished: The Blind Owl by Sadegh Hedayat
  25. Wild Card: The Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston

List Progress: 12/25

In addition, I am trying a film list again!

2018 Film Watching Resolution

  1. A foreign film:
  2. A black and white film:
  3. A silent or dialogue-free film:
  4. An animated film:
  5. A film based on a true story:
  6. A documentary:
  7. A film based on a book: Room (2015)
  8. An Oscar-winning movie:
  9. A trashy movie (B-list, straight to DVD): The Decoy Bride (2012)
  10. Your best friend’s favorite movie:
  11. A children’s film: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
  12. A film released in 2018: Love, Simon (2018)

List Progress: 4/12