Saturday, January 28, 2017

Seeing Double

The Parent Trap (1961)
Director: David Swift
Cast: Hayley Mills, Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Joanna Barnes
Released: June 21, 1961

Oscar nominations:

Best Sound (lost to West Side Story)
Best Film Editing (lost to West Side Story)

The Parent Trap (1998)
Director: Nancy Meyers
Cast: Lindsay Lohan, Dennis Quaid, Natasha Richardson, Elaine Hendrix
Released: July 29, 1998

I am doing a double movie review feature which is perfect because these movies feature twins! Ah, yes, The Parent Trap. Everyone knows this movie. It's a classic. If you really think about it, it's a bit of a f***ed up movie. A couple meets, falls in loves, gets married, has twin girls, then gets divorced soon after. That's actually all normal, but it's the fact that each parent takes a twin and live on opposite sides of the country (or, in the remake's case, different continents) and neither girl has no idea that the other one even exists! Also, I'm pretty sure that's not how custody works. I don't think the parents can just choose which child they want to keep as their own! 

The '98 movie follows the original pretty closely with only a few updated changes. So much so that both movies are pretty much the same length. Hayley Mills plays Sharon McKendrick and Susan Evers and Lindsay Lohan plays Annie James and Hallie Parker. Now I know that Hayley Mills was a popular child/teen actress of the early '60s, but to me, she'll always be Miss Bliss from Saved By the Bell! This was Lindsay Lohan's first movie and before she became a tabloid favorite, she was a pretty cute little eleven year old and it's impressive that her first movie was playing two characters who both have very different personalities and mannerisms. They could have easily cast the Olsen twins (who are the same age as Lohan), but I like that the movie cast only one actress as the original did. I felt like it would be cheating if they had cast real twins! I had always just assumed they named one of the Lohan twins "Hallie" as a homage to Hayley Mills (Hayley, Hallie, they sound close enough), but reading through the IMDb trivia section, I found out that the Lohan twins were named after the director's daughters.
Besides the names, the ages are also different. The Mills twins are thirteen and the Lohan twins are eleven. Both movies start with the girls going to the same summer camp. (Seriously, what are the odds of that; especially when they don't even live in the same town and the camp isn't even in the same area where they live?) I guess when they were making movies in the '60s, they didn't know how to build suspense because the very first moment Susan and Sharon are in the same room, they see each other. This happens the first night at camp when they're in line for dinner at the mess hall and both reach for something and see each other and give each other a look of surprise. At least in the remake, they milk it a bit before the twins discover each other. Like the original, there's a scene where they're both reaching for something while in line for dinner, but they don't see each other because the camp counselor is between them. They finally see each other for the first time after they've had a fencing duel and take off their masks and also gasp in surprise at their similarities. For some reason, both sets of twins take an immediate disliking to each other (with one twin insulting the other's, hello, you look exactly the same!) and a prank war ensues. This results with the girls being sent to the Isolation Cabin.  This is when they start to learn peculiar things about each other. One girl grew up with her father and never knew her mother (Susan and Hallie) and the other girl grew up with her mother and never knew her father (Sharon and Annie). They also find out they have the same birthday and will be turning the same age! And they look exactly alike! What are the odds of that?

It's the twin of the mother who realizes that something is up and has a realization that they just may be related. (Duh, no kidding!) In the original, Susan tells Sharon she's seen a photo of her mom and Sharon shows her a huge framed photo of her mom (seriously, who would bring something like that to a camp?) to which Susan asks what she's doing with a picture of HER mother and Sharon says that it's HER mother. In the remake, both girls have a torn photo, ripped down the middle of the parent they didn't grow up with. They reveal the photos and realize it makes a whole and the other girl recognizes the parent they did grow up with. "That's my mum!" "That's my dad!"

It's the idea of the twin who grew up with her father for them to switch places when they leave camp, so that way, their parents (who have never gotten remarried to other people), will have to unswitch them and will therefore meet and fall in love again. To do this, they cut the the hair of the twin with the longer locks and in the remake, they pierce the ears of the twin who doesn't have them. They also tell each other about their lives at home and the people in their everyday lives, like Sharon's/Annie's grandfather and butler and Susan's maid/Hallie's nanny.

In both movies, the twin of the father is from Carmel, California, but in the original, the twin of the mother lives in Boston while in the remake, they make her from London. Actually, while watching the original, I was a little surprised when I found out she was from Boston because she sounded more British than Bostonian; she certainly didn't sound like the people from movies and TV who are from Boston! Then I realized the "other" twin also sounded a little British and realized Hayley Mills just didn't quite get rid of her British accent as she's British in real life.

So Susan travels to Boston as "Sharon" where she meets her mother, Maggie McKendrick (Maureen O'Hara) and Hallie travels to London as "Annie" where she meets her mother, Elizabeth James (Natasha Richardson). I love that the twins are blonde and have a redheaded mother in the original and in the remake the twins are redheads and have a blonde mother. While riding in the car to her mother's home, Hallie is looking out the window and gawking at all the famous London sites. Girl, compose yourself! Remember, you're a native! The mothers in both movies are very beautiful, proper, and refined and the twins who finally get to meet her are just so enamored with her. Elizabeth is a famous wedding gown designer and takes her daughter to a photo shoot. I don't think they ever tell us what Maggie does.

Sharon travels to California as "Susan" where she meets her dad, Mitch Evers (Brian Keith) and
Annie travels to California as "Hallie" where she meets her dad, Nick Parker (Dennis Quaid). It was a little creepy in the original because when Susan was describing her dad to Sharon, she used words like "dreamy" and "sensational". Okay, let's calm down, it sounds like you have a crush on your dad! (Eww!) Luckily, they don't go that route in the remake. (I should hope not!) The fathers in both movies are rich, handsome, rugged-outdoors men and the twins who finally get to meet him are just so enamored with them. But not to the point of creepiness. The only girl who has a crush on her father in these movies is Susan! Like the mothers in both movies, both of the fathers live in large, gorgeous houses, so it's not like neither sets of twins were destitute. Both sets were living pretty great lives, but they just want to make their lives even better! Who can blame them? In both movies, Sharon and Annie, posing as the other twin, are confronted by Susan's and Hallie's confused dog who barks at them.

Unfortunately there is a little hiccup in Operation: Get Parents Back Together when Sharon/Annie discovers their father has a girlfriend - a MUCH younger girlfriend, which he plans to marry. Mitch is planning to marry Vicky (Joanna Barnes) and Nick is planning to marry Meredith (Elaine Hendrix). Joanna Barnes plays the mother of Meredith in the remake, so that's pretty cool. There's a funny moment in the remake where Nick is about to tell "Hallie" he's going to marry Meredith, but Annie interrupts him and says how she's so excited to have a big sister since he's obviously going to adopt her. Who would adopt a twenty-six year old? It's so ridiculous, but funny.

Sharon and Annie call their sisters to reveal the bad news. Susan gets a telegram from Western Union delivered from Sharon that says "Alexander Graham 3 AM important" and her mother and grandparents can't crack the code. Please. It's so obvious that she's suppose to call her "friend" (who she says it's from) at three in the morning.

Both sets of twins get caught before they reveal who they really are. Susan and Hallie get caught by Sharon's and Annie's grandfather (I guess technically, he is their grandfather too) after they've gotten off the phone with the other twin. He makes her tell the truth to his daughter. Susan is a total brat when she reveals who she really is to her mother and grandmother because she's whining how Sharon is back in California "riding my horse and having a keen time while I'm stuck here with these lousy music lessons and I hate them." Sharon is caught by the Evers's maid, Verbena and Annie is discovered by Hallie's nanny, Chessy, when both women become suspicious of the dog acting different towards the girls and their change of appetites.

By now the only person who doesn't know they've switched places is their father. Susan/Hallie and their mothers fly to California to switch places and hopefully stop their dad's marriage to a floozy and rekindle a romance between their parents. In both movies they do the old joke where the dad sees one twin, then, a minute later, sees the other twin and he's confused as to how she just popped up again so soon and she's wearing different clothes. There's a totally cringe-worthy moment in the original where Maggie takes a shower at the house while Mitch is out on his horse and when he comes back, there's a bra hanging on the shower door and he thinks it belongs to his thirteen-year-old daughter (which it obviously doesn't). Again, luckily, they take this out of the remake. When Mitch/Nick sees their ex-wife, they are shocked. So shocked, in fact, they fall into a lake/pool. In the original, when Mitch and Maggie are reunited, they start fighting and SCREAMING at each other. Now I can see why they got divorced! They're a lot more civil to each other in the remake. This is when the twins show up and explain to their father they've switched places this whole time. Both sets of twins guilt trip their parents into saying how they've grown up this whole time without a mother/father and beg their father not to marry Vicky/Meredith.

The twins set up a date for their parents that matches the very first date they ever had. This is when the Mills twins sing "Let's Get Together". The Lohan twins don't serenade their parents, but there is a scene earlier in the movie when one of those twins is humming it. However, the romantic dates don't quite work because the mother plans to fly back home with her daughter (the right twin this time). The twins play a trick on their parents by dressing exactly the same and not revealing who is who, therefore confusing their parents. They tell them they both want to go on the camping trip their dad has planned with the whole family. After they return, they will tell them who is who. Plans change and Vicky/Meredith end up going on the camping trip instead of Maggie/Elizabeth. This gives Susan and Sharon and Hallie and Annie the perfect opportunity to terrorize their almost stepmother-to-be. The remake keeps most of the same pranks as the original such as the girls putting a little lizard on the gold digger's water bottle, telling her to clap two sticks together to keep the mountain lions away, and putting water and sugar in her bug spray. The final, biggest prank is the one that's different. In the remake, they drag Meredith out from her tent on her inflatable bed while she's sleeping and float her out on the lake. I'm surprised she didn't roll into the water. She doesn't fall into the lake until the next morning when she wakes up and is standing up and screaming. Well, of course, you're going to fall into the water if you stand up on an inflatable bed! While I would have been pretty furious if someone did that to me, I would have much rather have that prank played on me than the one Susan and Sharon play on Vicky. These girls pretty much try to have this woman murdered when they put honey on her toes and leave a trail of it so when she wakes up, two bear cubs are licking at her feet. Understandably, she starts screaming and freaking out as any normal person would in that situation. Some guy (I guess the ranch hand) says, "Those are itty bitty bears! They wouldn't hurt a fly!" like it's no big deal. WHAT?!? Sure, those bear cubs may not do any damage, but Mama Bear ain't gonna be too happy! They must not have known about bear safety in the '60s, maybe? They seemed pretty laid back about two bear cubs visiting their camp. Even if they hadn't enticed the bears with honey, they still would have had them as visitors what with all the food they just left out on the tables! Susan and Sharon are just lying in their sleeping bags and I really wanted to smack them. I did not like them after that incident. Don't get me wrong: Annie and Hallie are plenty bratty to Meredith, but they never put her in a dangerous situation where she would have been mauled by a bear! Good God, movie! In the original, Vicky is furious and just leaves and in the remake Meredith is also furious and gives Nick an ultimate: them or her. Of course, he's going to choose his own children over a woman he's only known for a couple of months.

Of course, in both movies, both sets of parents realize they're still in love with each other and reunite. These are Disney movies, after all, of course they're going to have happy endings! I'm not sure where they ended up living, though. I found the original to be more realistic from the fact that the parents really seemed to hate each other so it's easy to see why they got divorced! They were just screaming and snipping at each other quite a bit! I'm not quite sure what was going on there. The parents in the remake seemed to like each other a lot more, but it is revealed they got married pretty quickly so maybe they thought that was a bad idea and that's why they got divorced? I do like the remake better because it came out when I was alive, for one thing, so I am more familiar with it. The original was still good, but there were a few parts that seemed to drag on. There are also a few questionable things in the original that I already mentioned and I did find those sets of twins to be more bratty than the twins in the remake. But Hayley Mills is much more iconic than Lindsay Lohan!

Monday, January 23, 2017

City of Stars

La La Land
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons
Released: December 9, 2016
Viewed in theaters: January 11, 2017

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture
Best Director - Damien Chazelle
Best Actor - Ryan Gosling
Best Actress - Emma Stone
Best Original Screenplay - Damien Chazelle
Best Cinematography
Best Film Editing
Best Production Design
Best Costume Design
Best Original Score - Justin Hurwitz
Best Original Song - "Audition (The Fools Who Dream")
Best Original Song - "City of Stars"
Best Sound Mixing
Best Sound Editing 

Okay, confession: if I had to pay to see this movie, I probably would have just waited to see it on DVD. But since I saw this with my parents and wouldn't have to pay to see it, I was more than happy to check it out and actually liked it more than I thought it would. For the most part, I do like musicals, but I was horribly scarred by the last one I saw in the theaters (at least, I think it was the last one I saw in theaters!): the horribly never ending and dreadfully boring, Les Miserables. Oh. My. God! I HATED, no LOATHED that movie so much! So much so that it turned me off of musicals for quite awhile. One of the (many, many!) reasons I hated that movie so much is that EVERY SINGLE LINE is sung in that movie and it's like, AUGH! SHUT UP!! Luckily, La La Land is not like that. At all. In fact, I've heard a criticism that there aren't enough songs in it. I can kind of understand because sometimes it feels it goes awhile without any songs and while I think a couple more songs would have been fine, I'm glad it's not all singing because that would get really old, really fast. I like the musicals where there are a handful of songs, but the characters don't sing every single line in the movie. There are homages to other musicals in this one. If you didn't catch the Singin' in the Rain one, well, that's just sad because that one was pretty blatant! I got a Moulin Rouge vibe from the dance scene at the planetarium. (Although it was much more toned down in this movie!)

The movie definitely reels you in from the beginning with its first song called "Another Day of Sun". It's not sung by any of the stars of the movie, but rather just by L.A. commuters (I mean, obviously they were trained dancers and singers!) The premise is a big traffic jam on a freeway in L.A. and everyone gets out of their car and starts singing and dancing. I was really impressed that this impossible scene was filmed and I thought how irritated people must have been that they shut that stretch of freeway down for who knows how long. Okay. I just checked Wikipedia. It was closed for two days. It's a pretty impressive scene and if memory serves right, it's all taken in one long shot.

This is the third time Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have starred in a movie together as romantic partners. If you're like me, you remember they were in Crazy, Stupid Love, but probably forgot they were in Gangster Squad. Actually, I've never seen that movie, so they could play siblings in that one for all I know! In La La Land, they play Mia and Sebastien, who both live in Los Angeles and are trying to pursue their dreams. Mia wants to be an actress and we see many scenes of her auditioning for some kind of role or another. She lives with three other roommates and works at a coffee house. She's originally from Nevada and we learn she wants to be an actress because she grew up watching old movies. We see her at many auditions throughout the movie and I just wanted to scream in frustration for her. I would hope that casting agents aren't this blase (pretend there's an accent mark over the e) in real life, but who knows. When we first see her auditioning for a role (wearing a coat because a customer spilled coffee on her shirt and she didn't have time to change), it appears to be a dramatic role where she's speaking on the phone to someone and it's obviously a serious scene because she starts crying, but during all this, the casting agents are talking and someone walks in to interrupt. She keeps going though, and is quite good, but doesn't get the part. We also see her try out for cop and medical dramas. (God knows there's enough of them on TV!) Her big break almost comes when she gets a call back for a show that she says is Dangerous Minds meets The OC, haha. How would that work anyway? Is it a show about inner city rich kids? Or a show about a teacher at a rowdy prep school? The whole premise was ridiculous and Mia was trying out for the teacher role and there were some pretty funny lines during her audition like, "No, Jamal, you be trippin'" or "Two options: you either follow my rules or follow my rules. Capiche?"

Sebastien is passionate about jazz and wants to own his own jazz club to keep that genre of music alive because he fears it's a lost art. In the meantime, to make money, he plays a piano at a restaurant but is fired when he forgoes the Christmas songs he's suppose to play in order to pay a piece he wrote himself. His boss (played by J.K. Simmons, who was in Whiplash, which Chazelle also directed) fires him on the spot and Sebastien storms out. Mia had heard the music and came into the restaurant to listen to him play and is about to compliment him, but he just brushes abruptly past her. The movie is divided into seasons (much like the Gilmore Girls Netflix revival!) and they (of course) meet up a few months later.

They soon start dating and encourage the other to follow their dreams. Mia feels maybe she isn't good enough because no matter how many auditions she goes on or how many call backs she gets, there is always someone who is prettier or more talented than her that ends up getting the job. That's just one reason why I would never want to be an actor (you know, other than the fact that I can't act!): it would just be so frustrating to get rejected all the time because you know that 99.9% of people who go out to Hollywood to make it big never get their big break. At least maybe they can get a small role on one of the thousands of TV shows that are out there! Sebastien tells Mia instead of auditioning, she should just have someone come to her and write her own play, so she does that. Only a handful of people come to her one-woman play (I've never had any desire to see those kinds of plays...luckily I don't have any friends who are involved in the theater!) including her three roommates. To her dismay, Sebastien isn't there and she hears people talking badly about the play when she's in her dressing room.

Mia is excited for Sebastien to start his own jazz club which he wants to call Chicken on a Stick (horrible name!), but Mia tells him she should call it Seb's with a saxophone for the apostrophe. (Much better name!) Even though Mia doesn't like jazz when she first meets Sebastien, she soon comes to appreciate it through his appreciation and admiration for it. Me? I'm not a jazz fan, as I find it to be screechy to the ear, but I could also almost be turned into a fan through Sebastien's passion for it. If you've ever listened to the podcast called Extra Hot Great, you may be familiar with their "Is This Worse Than Jazz?" section. I would say La La Land is NOT worse than jazz. Sebastien puts his dreams on hold to be a keyboardist in his friend's, Keith's (John Legend) jazz band. He begins to forget about his dream once he starts making money and Mia is angry with him and this leads to one of many fights they will have.

I am about to get into spoiler territory so continue on at your own risk! Seriously, I am about to spoil things in the movie so don't read any more if you have not seen La La Land yet and DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED!! You have been warned!

Okay, so of all the coincidences in the world, a casting agent happens to be one of the seven people who saw Mia's play and wants to audition her for a movie. By this time, Mia, after having a fight with Sebastien and thinking acting is not for her, has moved in with her parents in Nevada. Sebastien has gotten the call from the casting agent and convinces Mia to go back to Los Angeles to audition which she does and ends up landing the job which is in Paris. We get a "Five Years Later" time stamp and see that Mia has become the famous actress she has always longed to be. Mia has always had to serve coffee to the movie stars and now she gets to be the movie star who is being served the coffee. Sebastien has finally achieved his dream of opening his own jazz club. And thankfully he went with Mia's idea of calling it Seb's and not Chicken on a Stick! However, we get a gut punch when we see Mia walk into her home, greet her toddler daughter, then kiss her husband...who is NOT Sebastien! Uh, what! He is played by Tom Everett Scott and I guess Chazelle asked him to be in the movie because he was a fan of That Thing You Do (I get the feeling Chazelle is a fan of the jazz, haha!)

Mia and her husband take a stroll and decide to check out this new, popular club which Mia immediately realizes is Sebastien's jazz club. There's a scene where we see what would have happened if they had stayed together. My mom thought it was Mia's daydream, but I thought it was Sebastien's because in this daydreams, he kisses her at the restaurant the night he lost his job instead of shunning her. Who knows? Maybe they were both imagining the same thing at the same time. Because they are that connected.

I predict this movie will win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

No 'Room' for Error

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Cast: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson
Released: October 16, 2015

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture - (lost to Spotlight)
Best Director - Lenny Abrahamson (lost to Alejandro Inarritu for The Revenant)
Best Actress - Brie Larson (won)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Emma Donoghue (lost to Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for The Big Short)

I should probably start out with saying that there will be spoilers, MAJOR spoilers, in this review.

I was aware of the book this movie is based on by Emma Donoghue when it was released in 2010 from reading blurbs about it in Entertainment Weekly and Marie Claire, two magazines I subscribed to at the time. I knew it was about a young woman and her five-year-old son who are being held captive in a small room (hence the title). It wasn't really the subject matter of the story that turned me off from the story, no, it was the fact that the story is told from the perspective of the five-year-old. When I read that, I was like, "I'm out!" That just did not appeal to me at all. However, while there are voiceovers from the young boy in the movie, movies are different from books in that you are not always being narrated by someone so it was much easier to take. Now maybe I'm wrong about the book and it could be wonderful, but I really do not want to read something from the perspective of a five-year-old even though this certain five-year-old is (sadly) like no other child his age.

If one went into this movie without knowing what it was about or having read the book, they might be a little confused at first about what is going on. We see a young woman, Joy (Brie Larson), celebrating her son Jack's (Jacob Tremblay) fifth birthday. Jack wakes up and goes around the small room they're in, saying hello to the different pieces of furniture and appliances. Despite living in cramped corners, they seem to be happy. We soon realize that they aren't just living there, but are being held prisoner there (well, I already knew that since I was aware of the story!) The 'room' they are living in is a small shed outside the home of Joy's abductor, a man she calls "Old Nick" (Sean Bridgers) - she doesn't know his real name. It consists of a bed, a wardrobe, a toilet, a bath, a small TV, and a small kitchen/dining area. The only window is a skylight. Joy has Jack do small laps around the room and push ups to get exercise. Her abductor has a passcode to get in and out and brings them food and sleeps there at night so he can rape the twenty-four year old girl. We learn that Joy has been held captive in this room for seven years and obviously Jack is a product of her abductor. To be honest, I'm surprised she didn't have any more kids. When he spends the night, Joy makes Jack sleep in the wardrobe. There is a moment in the movie when Jack sneaks up on Old Nick when he's sleeping and Joy wakes up and starts freaking out and tells Old Nick to get away from him. One thing is for sure: even though Jack is his son, Old Nick obviously doesn't care about him. He doesn't even know how old he is. Of course, this is a guy who abducted a girl when she was seventeen, raped her repeatedly, and kept her prisoner in a small room for seven years. Remember in my review of The Silence of the Lambs when I said I will never help anyone move a couch into a van because that's how the young girl was abducted in that movie? Well, if someone asks me to look for their dog, I'm not helping them because that was how Joy was abducted in this movie. 

Since Jack has only known "room" (and he refers to it as though it's a town he lives in) his entire (albeit short) life, he is not aware that anything else outside of "room" exists. Everything in "room" is real while everything he sees on the TV, is not. Because Jack has seen spiders and mosquitoes in "room", they are real, but the squirrels and dogs he's seen on TV, are not. The plant (that badly needs to be watered) in "room" is real, but the trees he's seen on TV are not. There's a moment in the film when Jack sees a mouse and gives it crumbs, but Joy throws something at it to scare it and it goes back though the tiny hole it came through. (If you know anything about mice, they can squeeze through the tiniest of holes). Jack accuses his mother of killing the mouse, but Joy tells him the mouse is in the backyard, which confuses the poor child and thinks his mother is talking about a backyard on the TV. 

Since Jack is now five, Joy believes he is old enough to understand what is going on. She tells him how the mouse is on the other side of the wall to which Jack responds with, "What other side?" and his mom tells him there's two sides to every wall...the inside which they are in, and the outside, which they can't see. She explains to him how there is an entire world outside "room" and the things they see on TV are pictures of real things and the people they see on TV are real humans called actors. Jack, being a petulant five-year-old, accuses her of lying to him and you can just see the desperation on Joy's face as she's trying hard to figure out how to make him aware of the truth. 

She comes up with an idea to make Jack's face flushed so he feels like he has a fever and even gags into his hair so he smells sick. (Eww, poor kid). She's hoping this will make Old Nick take him to the emergency room where Jack can give a note to someone explaining their situation. This does not prove to work because Old Nick just tells her that he'll get "stronger stuff" for him next time. 

Joy has been reading "The Count of Monte Cristo" to Jack and if you know anything about that story, it shouldn't surprise you that it will play a big part in this story. Joy tells Jack that she wants him to play dead, much like the main character of the Dumas classic when he escapes from his prison, and she will roll him up in a large rug where then Old Nick will have to take him out in his truck and drive him somewhere to be buried. She carefully explains to Jack that she wants him to stay perfectly still while Old Nick is putting him in the truck, but once they are driving and he's come to a stop, she wants him to unroll from the blanket, jump out of the truck, and run, screaming for help, to the nearest person where he will then give said person the piece of paper explaining his situation with his mother's name. They practice, many times, having him roll and maneuver out of the heavy rug. The whole thing is very traumatizing for Jack and he screams, "I HATE YOU!" at his mother. It is a VERY scary situation for both parties involved. It's scary for Jack because it will be his first time in his life without his mother and in a new environment where he has to perform a difficult physical task (which he does end up achieving while they practice it, but practicing and actually doing it are two totally different things). Also, if he fails, Old Nick will kill both of them. It's scary for Joy because she's relying on a five-year-old child. She has to place all her trust and faith in this child who has never experienced the world and didn't even know the world existed until a couple days ago. 

When Old Nick comes in, Joy has Jack all rolled up and starts crying to him that Jack has died and she wants him to take him somewhere nice to be buried and not the backyard. Luckily, Old Nick abides to her wishes. The moment he takes the boy rolled up in the carpet and shuts the door behind him had to be a scary one for Joy, not knowing if she would see her son again or if she would be rescued. 

The scene with Jack rolled up in the rug in the back of the truck made me so anxious, especially when he begins to roll out. I was literally on the edge of my seat. When Jack starts wiggling out of the rug, I was worried that the abductor was going to notice a movement in his rearview mirror. We see a bunch of train tracks and I was worried that he was taking Jack to a place way out of the way where there would be no people around. A now freed, very visible Jack is out of the rug and standing up in the truck, looking out over the side and I was so worried that the abductor was definitely going to notice him then! As you can see, I was just so worried during this whole ordeal! It's only when he comes to a quick stop, then starts again when Jack falls over and makes a sound that he notices and stops the car. Jack jumps out, disoriented, and runs right into a man walking his dog. Because Jack has long hair, the man mistakes him for a girl. Old Nick grabs Jack and the guy knows there's something wrong, especially when Jack starts saying, "Help!" and reaches to give him the piece of paper that Old Nick takes and crumbles. He also tells the man to mind his own business. When the guy tells him he's going to call the police, Old Nick shoves Jack away and gets back in the car and you think this can't be good news for Joy.

We next see Jack with two police officers who are trying to get answers from him, but he's too confused and upset to even remember his mom's name and since he no longer has the note, they don't have that lead. There was a moment earlier in the film where Joy bites into an apple and a bad tooth comes out (well, she hadn't been to the dentist in seven years...) and she gives it to Jack so he would always have a piece of him with her and he shows it to the police woman. I thought for sure this was how they were going to identify Joy, through her dental records. But it wasn't. He just describes how long they were driving and the police woman seems to know the area he came from and they find and rescue Joy, who miraculously, was still alive. We never find out what happened to Old Nick, but he is presumably sent to jail.

All of this takes place within the first hour and I will admit I was a little surprised at how quickly Joy was rescued. Most movies would have the whole story be about them trying to escape, but that is resolved within the first hour. In the second hour, it deals with Joy getting back to the real world. She is reunited with her parents (played by Joan Allen and William H. Macy), who are divorced. She and Jack move in with her mother. It's very interesting to see Jack acclimatize to his new surroundings. Joy has to show him how to use the steps in her mother's house because he's never had to use steps before and didn't know what they were. (I guess he never saw anyone use them on TV?) There's a very sweet moment when he gets to play with a dog for the first time. And another very sweet moment when he tells his grandma, "I love you."

But just because Joy and her son have been rescued, doesn't mean everything is hunky-dory. The first night the family has dinner together, Joy accuses her father of not being able to look at Jack and after that we never see that character again. I was confused by this, but I guess it was too hard for him to see this child that was also part his daughter's rapist and abductor. She also gets very angry with her mother and accuses her she's the reason she was abducted because her mother always told her to be nice to people and that was the reason why she helped the man with the "lost dog". 

Joy does a TV interview with a talk show host (Wendy Crewson) and it is such a contrast to see how she looked when she was in "room" (no make up, dull, dry hair) to when she does the interview at her mom's house (all made up, nice clothes, shiny hair). She's being asked questions like, "Why didn't you just kill yourself?" She's thrown through a loop when the hosts asks her why she didn't just ask her captor to take Jack to a hospital when he was born so someone else could raise him. I don't think Joy should be punished for this because how would she know he would even take the baby to a safe place and not just get rid of it? And, really, Jack is the whole reason she was rescued in the first place. I have a feeling that interviewer got a lot of angry tweets the next day!

There's a very interesting scene at the end where Joy and Jack go back to "room" because Jack insists on it. I suppose it makes sense he wants to have closure with it because it's the only home he's known. Who knows? Maybe I will check out the book.