Film Friday: Room

Imagine if the world was a whole lot bigger, a whole lot brighter, much more colourful than you ever imagined. That’s what five year old Jack discovers when he escapes from ‘Room’ – the world he and his mother have inhabited since he was born. His mother, Alice, has been held captive in the one ‘Room’ shed for seven years, and Jack has been born there. Apart from the world of TV, this is on the only reality he has ever known. Then one day he escapes, and brings help for his mother. And both are set free. In this clip, they are still in their world of ‘Room’ and his mother tries to explain to Jack what has happened to them.

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When Jack makes his courageous bid for freedom, and he starts to learn about the wider world, things are not easy for either him or his mother. At first there is a surge of joy, for his mother especially, but there is a lot of adjustment for both of them after their years in captivity. I found this a really moving film, troubling yet hopeful, disturbing and stirring.
Jesus brought release to many people in his work in Galilee. People who had lived with a confined reality for long years suddenly found themselves able to break out as a result of his offer of new life. The blind found sight, the sick and dying regained life and strength, and many folks caught in webs of despair broke free. One man, Zechariah, described the work of Jesus as ‘setting free those trapped in dark prisons’. Those prisons varied a lot – some were physical, some emotional, some social. But Jesus never forced people to break free. He knew that for some the adjustment would not be easy. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked one blind man, not assuming that the answer would be obvious.

Jack struggles at times to come to terms with the wider world and its implications. His mother too. As difficult as ‘Room’ was, there were some things which were safe and familiar. Jesus once said that he had come to bring life in all its fullness to people. That’s an incredible offer, but not always straightforward or easy. We have to wrestle with constant adjustment and change. The book of Revelation promises that one day we will all break out of this confined ‘Room’ of the present life, and find ourselves in a technicolour world where there will be no more confinement, no more imprisoning, no more tears or pain, loneliness or struggle. Part of me longs for that day, this world seems so confining at times, so troubling, difficult and restricting, loading fears and pressures upon us, tugging us this way and that. There are moments when I long to be free of this dark, dismal nonsense. But till then we keep going, like Jack, learning, adjusting, coping, one day at a time.

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