The teaser trailer for Room, based on Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel, debuted this morning — to quite a bit of confusion online. Who are Brie Larson and her child? Why are they in this “room” in the first place? Is the long-haired kid a boy or a girl?
Fear not, dear readers — we’ve come to clear up the mysteries. Note there are spoilers ahead, but nothing you couldn’t really conclude from the extremely spoiler-heavy trailer.
1. Brie Larson plays Ma, and Jacob Tremblay plays her 5-year-old son, Jack.
While it’s unlikely this could carry over too well into the film adaptation, the book is told from Jack’s perspective — so all we know is what he knows. Which is why Ma’s name is simply “Ma.”
2. Jack has never been outside: He was born in Room, as he calls it, and has lived there his entire life.
He and Ma use their imaginations and play games all day, so Jack doesn’t quite understand that anything is wrong. The only thing that is real to him is what’s in Room. There is no such thing as outside. But he’s a happy kid — all thanks to Ma. He has long hair because he’s never cut it.
3. Ma was kidnapped by a man Jack calls Old Nick — when she was 19 and before Jack was born.
But Jack knows nothing about “kidnapping,” he just knows Old Nick as the guy who brings them food, and who visits Ma at night. During these visits, she makes Jack hide in the closet.
4. Once a day, Ma and Jack scream as loud as they can.
Jack doesn’t understand why they do this, but it’s their only way to cry for help. They’re completely locked inside Room.
5. Old Nick built Room — a heavily-reinforced shed — expressly for the purpose of taking a hostage.
6. Ma has been plotting an escape, and starts training little Jack — because it all relies on him.
The plan involves Jack pretending to be dead, so that Old Nick will dispose of his body in a rolled-up rug. His tiny 5-year-old brain not only has to adjust to the outside world, but remember the order of actions, keep quiet, and essentially do stunts in order to escape.
7. Ma is desperate to escape, not only because she remembers what life was like outside of Room, but also because she suffered a devastating tragedy in Room even before Jack was born.
Ma also suspects the clock is ticking. Old Nick hinted that he might lose his job and his home, and Ma worries that he’ll kill them to cover his trail.
8. Donoghue has said that Room was “triggered” by the horrifying, much publicized story of Josef Fritzl, who locked his daughter in the cellar for over two decades, where she had as many as seven children by him.
But Old Nick and Ma are not related — they were strangers.
Room will play at the Toronto Film Festival in September, hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles Oct. 16, and opens nationwide on Nov. 6.