Kieran, here with a second look at SAG nominee Jacob Tremblay's work in Room.
My antennae were attuned for several things this past weekend while watching Lenny Abrahamson’s Room for the second time. I’ll say up front that searching for the power of Brie Larson’s accomplished, already heralded performance as Ma was not one of them. That was received on first watch and, frankly hadn’t faded from memory even a little. A rewatch only confirmed the potent emotionality of Larson’s work and it’s fortunate that work this exemplary is being so universally recognized as such—that isn’t always the case. Among other things, I was watching for Jacob Tremblay’s performance as Jack, Ma’s doting and mystified son.
Full disclosure: I often find praise heaped upon juvenile performances incredulous. Like many, I found myself fighting tears (and losing that fight) several times throughout my first viewing, most often during Tremblay’s scenes. The grimness of the initial scenario and the bond between Ma and Jack on the script level had my suspicions raised. Was Tremblay’s performance itself eliciting the emotional response or is it solely because of what’s already built in to the architecture of the piece?
This was my question going into Room for the second time. [More...]