Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room” (2015) is not a simple film about a mother and child who were held captive in a small room for 7 years.
It is much more profound than all of that.
We identify with the characters in the film because in some sense we are all already living inside of that small room. That small room is the prison house of our being. Plato called it a cave. Thus, recall the familiar dialogue between the mother and her son in the film:
“Your gonna love it,” says the mother.
“What?” responds the boy.
Recall that when the boy finally departs from the room he looks outside of his hospital window and becomes blinded by the light. This is precisely the moment when each one of us moves out of the prison house of being. In Plato’s allegory, the prisoner, freed from the cave, is similarly blinded by the light.
The boy longs to return to the room, to the prison house of being. And so too does the prisoner in Plato’s allegory. But the prisoner returns with the aim of releasing the rest of us from that prison. There are three moments of revolution: first, the mother, after many years, finally explains to the boy that there is a real world out there – and the boy finds it difficult to understand. second, the boy leaves the prison, returning back to it at the end of the movie only to demonstrate to all of us, the viewers, that there is truly something outside of the room.
Finally, in the third moment, we leave the theatre and go out into the world.