A young woman (Brie Larson) and her five-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay) are held prisoner in a backyard shed. When Jack manages to escape, mother and son must learn to cope with life outside of their prison walls, and reacquaint themselves with their immediate family.
While Larson is excellent here, Tremblay is the biggest reason to see this movie. His portrayal of a small boy who has only known one room his entire life is revelatory, a performance like none other. While Larson has picked up a Golden Globe and a much-deserved Oscar nomination, Tremblay was robbed. Joan Allen delivers strong work as Jack’s grandma, dealing with the horror that brought him into the world and loving him the instant they meet. William H. Macy has a small but memorable part as Jack’s grandpa, a person who can’t get over what happened to his daughter. Lenny Abrahamson, who made last year’s excellent and relatively unknown Michael Fassbender comedy, Frank, directs the movie. Based on his work with these two films, he’s one of the industry’s most interesting directors.
The movie basically plays out in two parts, the imprisonment and the aftermath. Larson delivers a performance deserving of the accolades, but it’s Tremblay who makes the biggest mark.