“Room” seems the most underrated movie nominated for Best Picture this year, and I think I know why. It’s so difficult to recommend.

I’m not even saying that in a bad way: it’s good. But it is impossible to recommend it to someone without spoiling the whole movie. It’s one of those films where knowing absolutely nothing about it is the only way to watch it. Don’t watch the trailer. It ruins the movie. You see, knowing just a bit of the movie could give away the plot, which makes writing this review extremely difficult.

The movie is designed so that the first half keeps you guessing until you realize the terrifying truth of what’s really going on. The story doesn’t truly begin until the second half, but by that time you’ll start to recover from the preceding events. That said, it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a gut-wrenching movie, even though there’s no graphic violence at all. Don’t expect typical Tarantino, but don’t expect something like “Carol,” either. It’s poetic in that it explains an atypical relationship between a mother and her son, but it’s tragic once you realize what led to their circumstances in the first place. I’ve seen the movie twice now, and halfway through the second viewing, my friend commented, “Is the movie over?” You expect the film to end around the midpoint of the film, but director Lenny Abrahamson asks the gripping question: What happens next? How do you start over again?

If I can’t specifically talk about the story of the film, I can certainly talk about the performances. Acting recognition goes to two individuals, Brie Larson, who plays Joy Newsome, and Jacob Tremblay, who plays her son, Jack. Larson recently won a Golden Globe for her role in the film, and I’d bet on her winning Best Actress on Feb. 28 too. It’s a raw performance with no boundaries to limit her performance. Her character is not perfect, either. We end up questioning her morals toward the end of the film, but it’s difficult to imagine yourself in Joy’s shoes. That said, Larson doesn’t hold out. She’s completely immersed in her role, and it’s refreshing that she doesn’t play the typical archetype either.

If Larson is outstanding, Tremblay is spellbinding. In fact, he has the most difficult role in the entire film, and he was only eight years old during production. It’s often said that child actors are difficult to work with, but there is so much emotional range from his performance that it looks so natural. Shoutout to Abrahamson for getting this performance out of Tremblay, which in turn makes this movie even more difficult to watch. It’s a shame that Tremblay wasn’t nominated for Best Actor this year, but that’s probably better for Leonardo DiCaprio, meaning we’ll finally be done seeing those Internet memes about him not winning an Oscar yet. (By the way, he totally will; it’s pretty much a given at this point).

I’ve seen six out of the eight movies nominated this year for Best Picture, and “Room” is by far my favorite, with “Spotlight” in close second (sorry, “Mad Max”). I hope that I haven’t spoiled anything for you, and would highly recommend not watching this film in a small room. If nothing else, this film will hopefully make you consider the smaller moments in life and appreciate them­—your bed, your sheets, your desk, and, of course, your room. 

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