After the Campaign: Room

room pic 3

In the conclusion of my review of the campaign for Room I wrote:

That all being said, while I liked the continued emphasis on those two components, I felt like there was a bit of inconsistency in the tone and feel of the actual campaign elements. The poster and website strike a very different tone than the trailers and I’m not sure why. The former are hopeful and rejoicing, the latter is a bit more gritty and emotional. Not depressing, but certainly a few shades darker, mostly the result of needing or choosing to focus much of the attention on the room itself. It’s not a bad campaign. But I do feel like the differing tones from one element to the other could create some audience confusion.

I stand by that statement having now watched the movie. It’s an incredibly moving story that’s well-told. So the inconsistent tone from the campaign comes from wanting to sell a hopeful take on the story of a woman and her son escaping captivity, which admittedly is hard to do. But it wants to tell the audience that everything will be OK and so everything, even the slightly-darker trailers, focus on the escape and scenes of Jack and Ma adjusting to the real world outside of Room.

The movie, though, isn’t quite as hopeful as a whole. While it certainly emphasizes the hope that Ma tries to give Jack before the escape, what it almost completely ignores is the aftermath of that escape and that, just as much as the plan to escape from Room, provides much of the narrative arc of the story. But that’s not a hopeful storyline, which is why footage from that portion of the movie seems to have been selectively pulled out for the marketing.

In that portion of the movie it become’s Jack’s story more than it’s Joy’s, even though she still provides much of the forward momentum for the actions and story elements. But Jack becomes the center of attention as he acclimates to a world he’s never known and people and relationships he’s completely unprepared for. The entirety of the campaign, though is focused around Joy, which is understandable considering Larson is and was a more well-known name. But it means that Jack’s arc isn’t focused on, despite it being such a big part of the movie as a whole.