This film is adapted from Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel, which is based on similar real-life incidents. She also wrote the screenplay, and, with the fine direction of Lenny Abrahamson, they have crafted an emotionally compelling, powerful, and interesting film. It celebrates the resiliency of the human spirit and how the strong attachment bond between mother and child can transcend the most dire circumstances. Anchoring the movie is an incredible performance by Brie Larson. I am sure she will be nominated for the AW for Best Female Actor. If she doesn’t win it, it will take an amazing performance from another actor or academy politics to beat her out.
I can’t reveal too much about the plot or I will spoil it. Essentially, Ma (Brie Larson) was kidnapped when she was a senior in high school and is now being held captive in a very small room by “Old Nick”(Sean Bridges), who repeatedly rapes her. The film begins 7 years later. Ma now has a 5 year old son (Jack), fathered by Nick. Their only contact with the outside world is a small TV and a tiny skylight. Somehow, Ma valiantly struggles to give Jack as normal a life as is humanly possible, protecting him from the horrible truth of the situation. Ma still has hope of eventually escaping, but her prior attempts have failed.
Although it has a very dark theme, the film is actually up-lifting. Much about the plot is implied, rather than shown on the screen. It will work fine as a rental, but this is a really good movie and Larson’s performance is worth seeing now on the BS.