The movie that ended up at the top of my list for 2015, narrowly edging out Spike Lee's Chi-raq, is the #26 pick for Muriels voters this year. It's Lenny Abrahamson and Emma Donoghue's adaptation of Donoghue's best-seller Room, starring Oscar-winner Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay and Joan Allen. It was my pleasure to put down some words in praise of this wonderful movie for Muriel this year. Here's a smidgen of what I had to say:
"Room might be considerably less than it is were it not for the sheer, unaffected natural believability as mother and son, which is colored by exasperation and frustration as well as love, that radiates between Larson and Tremblay. The history of American movies is littered with plasticized, see-through portrayals of parent/child relationships, usually lathered with treacle or snark and absent a moment’s resonance with reality. On the other hand, Abrahamson’s movie is far more suited to a looser, more European-style sensibility—Abrahamson is Irish, and the movie was filmed in Toronto. It is no chore for an audience to almost immediately accept that these two are biological kin-- the body language and sense of intimacy with which Ma and Jack interact belie a mother and son who have spent five years in company and confinement, to say nothing of the even more intimate experience of having shared space within the same body. Ma and Jack’s is not a relationship concerned with a lot of chummy banter, and Abrahamson would seem constitutionally incapable of shooting a cute montage meant to sell qualities of familial bonding his actors have failed to suggest themselves."
You can read the entirety of my essay on Room at the official Muriels Web site, Our Science is Too Tight.