Watch/Read

Emma Donoghue wrote the book, Room, in 2010. It is, by far, the most genuine version of a child narrator I've ever experienced. Harper Lee gets props, but Donoghue actually reminds you what it's like to think like a child: to be a child. When I heard that she was writing the screenplay for the film adaptation, I was skeptical: this book works so well because it relies so heavily on how the imagination works. The book is dauntingly large: 352 pages, but it only takes a few sittings to get through. Jack, the 5-year-old narrator, and his Ma live in a small room with only a skylight window. Jack has never been beyond the room, and only knows beyond his walls through a television and his mother's stories. The logistics of the situation are a horror story; but the reality for Jack, is normal, lovely life. His Ma makes life safe. In the film version, Brie Larson (of The Trouble with Bliss fame) fully becomes Ma: she looks like one might expect a woman to look after never seeing a mirror, and never being outside for more than 5 years. Jacob Tremblay so fully becomes Jack that you wonder just how he could possibly understand the character he is playing--but he does. As usual, read the book, then see the film.