Adaptation is a series that examines the film adaptations of some of the books I’ve read (and vice versa). **Warning – there may be spoilers if you have yet to read the book or watch the movie!**
A Quick Summary: Jack has lived in Room his whole life, but when he turns 5, he learns that an entire world exists outside of Room.
Did you read the book or watch the movie first? I read Emma Donoghue’s Room last September and wrote about it here. At the time, I didn’t realize it would be a movie coming out this year as well. I finally made time to go see it at the Angelika this week.
How were the book and movie different? I think the movie was able to truly capture how claustrophobic and small Room was in a way that the book was not. I thought that Brie Larson was phenomenal. She exuded a quiet combination of strength and emotional turmoil, and I found her much more likable than the Ma in the book.
How were the book and movie the same? I think one of the best parts of having Emma Donoghue write both the book and the screenplay is that the themes and tone of the book did not get lost during the adaptation. I was worried that the movie would sexualize Ma or play up the gruesome aspects of the book, but we truly get a movie about the bond between mother and child in spite of terrible circumstances.
Parting Thoughts: I think that Emma Donoghue was a little too sentimental to her own writing. There were long voiceovers in the movie of Jack reading (what seemed like pages) from the book. I thought it worked well at first to help set the scene, but I found it more distracting than anything else later on. Overall, I was pleased to find the same strong female protagonist and I was amazed by Jacob Tremblay’s portrayal of Jack (the actor is only 9!) However, since this wasn’t one of my favorite-books-of-all-time, I would probably recommend either reading or watching it, but wouldn’t encourage doing both.
Other Posts in the Adaptation Series: