Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

A young woman (Brie Larson) and her 5-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), are held prisoner in a backyard shed. When Jack manages to escape, resulting in both of them being freed, mother and son must learn to cope with life outside of their prison walls, and reacquaint themselves with their immediate family.

While Larson is excellent in Room, Tremblay is the biggest reason to see this movie. His portrayal of a small boy who has only known one room in his entire life is revelatory; it’s a performance like none other. While Larson has picked up a Golden Globe and a much-deserved Oscar nomination, Tremblay was robbed.

Joan Allen delivers strong work as Jack’s grandma, a woman who is both dealing with the horror that brought him into the world, and loving him from the instant they meet. William H. Macy has a small but memorable part as Jack’s grandpa, a person who can’t get over what happened to his daughter.

Lenny Abrahamson, who made last year’s excellent yet relatively unknown Michael Fassbender comedy Frank, directs. Based on his work with these two films, he’s one of the industry’s most interesting directors.

The movie basically plays out in two parts: the imprisonment, and the aftermath. Larson delivers a performance deserving of the accolades, but it’s Tremblay who makes the biggest mark.

Room is now playing at the Cinémas Palme d’Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0430).

Published in Reviews

Director Lenny Abrahamson has made a profound yet silly film about the soul-sucking madness that can come from the creation of art—as well as the perils of pursuing celebrity.

In Frank, Jon Burroughs (Domhnall Gleeson) clumsily tries to write music while living with his mom and dad in England. His attempts are pathetic—and he knows it. Jon happens upon a strange band, the Soronprfbs (yes, it’s impossible to pronounce), while their keyboardist is attempting to drown himself in the ocean. The band is fronted by Frank (Michael Fassbender), a possible musical genius who insists upon wearing a large mask with big bug eyes. He wears it all the time, whether he’s in public, performing or sleeping.

The character is based a bit upon Frank Sidebottom, the singing alter ego of the late British comedian Chris Sievey, who wore a mask similar to the one Fassbender wears in the film. Jon Ronson, a former member of Sidebottom’s band, co-wrote the script.

As terrific as Fassbender is, it is Gleeson (Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter movies) who commands most of the movie. Watching the previously grounded Jon nearly go insane is one of the film’s many pleasures. When Frank sings “I Love You All” in the final scene, he’s managed to create his most “likable” and accessible song yet—and it’s the catchy byproduct of madness, despair and the artistic birthing process.

Frank is now playing at the Cinémas Palme d’Or (72840 Highway 111, Palm Desert; 760-779-0430).

Published in Reviews