Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Room Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Difficult-to-watch but beautifully performed survival tale.
  • R
  • 2015
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 45 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The bond between parent and child is so strong that it can create meaning in otherwise-hopeless situations. Also: With someone you love and care for around, you can survive almost anything. Also suggests that young women should be kind but have a healthy distrust of strangers' intentions.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jack is intelligent, curious, and kind. He loves his mother, who's also his best and only friend. Ma teaches Jack and makes sure he's active and learns, even in their horrible situation. Both of them are very brave, though at one point Ma attempts suicide. Ma's mother is patient and loving after reuniting with her daughter and meeting her grandson.


It's obvious that Ma has been systematically raped and intimidated for her seven years of captivity. She's also been injured and beaten, but mostly sexually assaulted during her time in the shed (during one assault, Jack is hidden in a wardrobe and hears noises). Old Nick hurts and chokes Ma in one scene. Ma attempts suicide by taking an overdose of pills, buts she survives.


The only content in the film related to sex is violent in nature (details in "Violence" section).


Variations of "f--k" (used as both an exclamation or adjective, not as a verb to signify sex) are used almost a dozen times. Also "s--t" and "bitch."


Sprint cell phone, children's programming like Dora and Sesame Street, the novel The Book Thief.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Room is based on an intense, disturbing, award-winning novel by Emma Donoghue that focuses on a precocious 5-year-old boy named Jack (Jacob Tremblay), who lives in an unthinkable situation with his mother, Ma (Brie Larson): They're both trapped in a kidnapper's shed, and Jack was born in captivity. The movie features a great deal of suggested violence (particularly rape), as well as an upsetting scene of the kidnapper yelling at and injuring Ma. There's also an incredibly tense sequence when Jack attempts to escape from his captor and another scene in which a character is shown having overdosed on pills (she survives). Along with the violence, there's some strong language, including nearly a dozen uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. But in the end, despite their horrific circumstances, Ma and Jack have a beautiful, incredibly close relationship that's hopeful and inspiring.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byStevie111 February 23, 2016

Room is a terrific and emotional story worthy of oscar contention

This film is an extremely well made and acted film. That being said, it is quite emotional and at times hard to watch. It is very realistic and can get to be up... Continue reading
Parent of a 14 and 15-year-old Written byMercurybabe January 15, 2016

Hidden Gem!

My 14 year old daughter convinced me to go to this movie because she loved the book... And we both loved it! We were blown away by the acting and cinematography... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byDemogorgonAV11 October 29, 2020

Such a positive movie!

This movie is do fricken good! It has a great role model for kids who are 13 AND UP. To be careful around strangers and if you do see someone in this situation,... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 26, 2015


This movie was so well directed, acted and written. The movie was really depressing and sad. It leaves you joyful and in tears and makes you think about for at... Continue reading

What's the story?

ROOM, adapted for the screen by the source novel's author, Emma Donoghue, is mostly a story about two people: 5-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his Ma (Brie Larson), who live together in a single room. Told from Jack's point of view, the movie makes it clear that he's used to the routine of watching TV, reading, playing, and living in a space with just his Ma ... except for at night, when "Old Nick" visits and Jack has to hide in a closet. What the audience knows that Jack doesn't is that he and his mom are Nick's captives, and they live in a locked shed in Nick's backyard. When Ma, who was kidnapped at age 17 and has been held captive for seven years, senses an opportunity for her and Jack to escape, she must convince and coach him on a plan that's both dangerous and heartbreaking. If they succeed, will they be able to deal with being back in the real world?

Is it any good?

Room is an admittedly unsettling adaptation, but it's also a beautifully acted testament to the unsinkable bond between a mother and son, whose love propels them to rescue each other. Larson gives a career-making performance as the woman known simply as "Ma" for most of the film. She and young Tremblay make a remarkable duo; Tremblay, in particular, is riveting and natural in a way that's incredibly rare for a child actor. Both actors fully embody Donoghue's literary characters -- a young woman whose life was cut short at 17 but whose child, born in sadness and seclusion, brings her the only hope, joy, and companionship possible in her situation. The desperately tense scene in which she prepares Jack and then sends him to escape from their kidnapper's claws is so anxiety-provoking that even those who've read the novel and know how it ends will feel viscerally uncomfortable until it's finally, finally over.

This isn't the kind of movie that's pleasant to watch. While not as graphically violent as war survival dramas, it's nonetheless upsetting and emotional. That the story is told from Jack's point of view is what makes both the book and the movie so unforgettable. Intelligent beyond his years yet utterly unaware of the world around him, Jack is a mysterious creature to behold, while his Ma, to any parent in the audience, is undeniably a hero for having the courage to raise such a beautiful, kind soul under such heartbreaking limits. Prepare to cry, to feel, and to cheer for Jack and Ma; this is the kind of film that stays with you long after the credits roll.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Room's implied versus overt violence. Although there isn't a lot of graphic violence shown on screen, how are violence and tension suggested? Which has more of an impact on you -- what you see, or what you don't? Why do you think that is?

  • Do you think Ma is a role model? What tough decisions did she make that you admire? What do you think you might do differently?

  • What does Ma means when she tells her own mother that if she hadn't been told to be nice all the time, she might not have been kidnapped? What are your thoughts about that statement?

  • How does the media portray Ma's ordeal? Why does the reporter plant a seed of doubt in Ma's mind about her decisions?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thought-provoking stories

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate