Is ‘Room’ In Good Hands? – A Double Review

When I first did my post about the upcoming film adaptation of ‘Room’, I mentioned that there were two movies that I needed to see in order to tell if the film was in good hands. One of them was Lenny Abrahmson’s Frank, and the other was Short Term 12, starring Brie Larson. Now, I’m going to do some quick little reviews on both films so that I can sum up what I thought about the films and how I feel about what these people will bring to Room.

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First up is Frank. The film is very odd, but in a good way. Some people really loved this film, but I wouldn’t go that far. It can get a little too unusual for my taste. But I think that the film was put together with good actors, good editing, and good directing. While I think Fassbender’s performance is a bit overrated, I think Maggie Gyllenhaal was really good. Not one of my personal faves, but I’m glad I saw it.

I did enjoy what Lenny Abrahmson brought to the table and the way he told this story, but I am a little concerned because the overall tone of the film is very different from the tone of Room. Frank is a dark comedy. Room is not a comedy by any stretch of the imagination. The novel really clicked for me because of Jack’s innocence, as well as his obliviousness to the incredibly dark situation that he and his mother are in. But Abrahmson did a good job with his directing.

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And then we have Short Term 12. Now this is a truly great movie. I never got around to seeing it back in the 2013 Awards season, but I’m glad I finally came around. The film does cover some touchy subjects, but it really is worth seeing. The combination of the screenplay, directing, editing, and acting is just a wonderful blend. The film is currently on Netflix, and I encourage you all to check it out. In fact, if you go to my ‘If I Ran The Oscars’ page for 2013, you’ll find that I have given this film seven nominations, including a win in Best Adapted Screenplay.

Brie Larson does a great job in this role. However, what gives me pause is the fact that it’s a very subtle performance. ‘Ma’ is a considerably showier role. The kind of role that is destined to earn praise. I don’t know for sure what Larson will bring to this role, but I trust her to do what she needs to do.

I think at the end of the day, it is impossible to tell exactly what Abrahmson and Larson will bring to the plate. But for now, all we know is that Abrahmson is a good director, and Larson is a good actress. And with a screenplay by Emma Donoghue, adapting her own novel, I think that this movie could be something truly special.

Frank: ****
Short Term 12: *****

PS: Early Oscar predictions are coming…

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