This film directed by Lenny Abrahamson with a screenplay by Emma Donoghue based on her book of the same name details the ordeals of a young woman and her son who are being held captive by a deranged man in a small, fortified room with one skylight above them. The young woman named Joy “Ma” Newsom was kidnapped at seventeen by her captive which she calls Old Nick and held captive for seven years. She has also been repeatedly sexually assaulted by him thus producing her beloved five year old son Jack, who has never known a life outside of this squalid, small room. Realizing that Old Nick is out of work which thus puts their lives in peril, Joy cooks up a plot to pretend that Jack has died by rolling him up in a carpet and telling him repeatedly how to escape when in the outside world, when Old Nick’s truck is stopped at a stop sign. Every effort is made to explain how Joy had tried to escape in the past but only to disastrous results, so she feels this is the only option to free themselves from this nightmarish predicament. A caring pedestrian comes to the aid of Jack thus starting the second half of the film which reintroduces Joy to her family, who naturally thought she was dead and Jack who has no idea how to deal with the outside world. There is a beautiful scene when Joy and her mother scream at each other over the sheer frustration of how their lives have been turned upside down, with her mother telling her that hers was not the only life that was ruined. The thing that impressed me about this film was the close attention paid to the smallest details, such as Jack not knowing how to walk up or down stairs and his inability to relate to anyone other than his mother. This film is filled with extraordinary performances, namely by Brie Larsen as Joy, Jacob Tremblay as Jack, and Joan Allen as her mother Nancy Newsome. They should all be nominated for Oscars with Brie Larsen considered by many as the front runner for Best Actress.
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