Written by Canadian Emma
Donoghue and directed by Irishman
Lenny Abramson, Room tells the story
of Joy, a woman who has been held
prisoner by a man for sex for the last
seven years. During that time, she gives
birth to her son, Jack, and all that he
knows is contained within the walls
of their tiny, single room. After finally
achieving their freedom, Jack and Joy
breathe fresh air for the first time in
years, but are they truly free?
Powerful from the first scene to the
last, Room delivers a beautiful and
moving portrait of the damage left in
the shadow of sexual abuse and the
challenges of moving forward afterward.
What’s more, in an unexpected turn,
Abramson chooses to tell the story
from the perspective of Jack’s young
five-year-old eyes. As a result, the film
manages to tell its story with a sense
of wonder, fear and innocence that
seems to make each moment feel fresh.
(It also manages to keep the film from
a more exploitative tone, which would
have been a temptation for many other
As Jack’s world expands, he is forced
to readjust his entire understanding of
the universe. Whereas he has been told
since birth that there is nothing but outer
space beyond the walls of Room, now
he is forced to accept that there are
trees and pets and other people. The
life he knew is only a small part of the
world that really exists.
Scripture says that the, “truth will set
you free” (John 8: 32), but this film takes
its time with responding to this idea.
As he and Joy get to experience new
life, the question is whether or not they
will ever actually experience freedom.
Both characters have been damaged
deeply and their spiritual journey has
Hope lies outside
loves us, we have
In many ways, this journey is a powerful depiction of our experience with
the gospel. While the story of Christ’s
life, death and resurrection promise
freedom, our story does not end in that
moment of new spiritual reality. It is just
beginning. In fact, all of us who accept
Christ must still deal with our stories
from the past.
The heart of the gospel is such that,
despite our past pains, we can begin
to see that hope lies outside ourselves.
We understand that, because Christ
loves us, we have value. We matter.
We were created in His image and that
has stayed (even if we’ve messed it up
a little bit.)
No one can take that away from us.
And there is hope within that.
The journeys of Jack and his mother
in Room are very different, to be sure.
Without spoiling too much, it is fair to
say that, while one is able to slowly
breathe the joy of new life, the other
finds separation from the past to be far
more difficult. They are forced to decide
whether they’re willing to nervously
begin to step into their new life.
Their freedom becomes less about
the man “Old Nick” and becomes
focused on the damage left by him. In
the end, they must allow themselves to
discover that the hope from their lives
lies beyond the walls of Room.
In the end, they must allow themselves to believe that the truth can set
Leaving the Room
ROOM mOvIE REvIEW
By: Steve Norton
mAy/JUNE 2016 / LOVE IS MOVING 13