Two days ago I sank into a depression pit following Room‘s big audience-award win at the Toronto Film Festival. Then I was slammed by HE commenters and on Twitter for being a sexist curmudgeon. And then I felt even worse after reading Katey Rich‘s Vanity Fair piece about how Lenny Abrahamson‘s film is now looking like a game-changer in the Best Picture race. But then shafts of light pierced through the clouds, and now it appears as if the beginnings of a nascent counter-movement among free-thinking XY-chromosone types may be forming. The comfort of fraternity, of siding with like-minded fellows! I don’t like Room at all, and therefore I am.
First, Time‘s Rebecca Keegan tweeted that she “can’t figure why Room has made some dudes so angry.” My heart skipped a beat. “Dudes” as in plural? Keegan pointed to a tweet by Mashable‘s John Lincoln Dickey in which he called Room “an awful, joyless, airless experience.” Thank you, God! I knew then and there that an army of Room haters were out there. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Then I heard from a big-league film critic who said that while Room “is an improvement over Abrahamson’s excruciating Frank, simply because [it has] realistic people and emotions and is therefore somewhat credible and relatable, I am [nonetheless] much closer to your view than to the film’s lovers, as I’d have to be led on a leash to ever see Room again. The TIFF award startled me as well, as it’s hard to believe people loved it that much.”
Then I heard from an East Coast guy who sends me occasional reports on research screenings, and he called Room “far and away my least favorite film of the year. The person I saw it with also said the same. [But[ I think we were the only two that disliked it among the test-screening audience…it got a standing ovation.”
I don’t want to go crazy with this but if I wanted to I could launch a website called www.roompushback.com. It’s probably better if I play it cool and lowdown and let the reactions find their own natural level. I don’t want to launch a Room takedown campaign as much as create and nurture a community that says it’s entirely okay to hate it, and that you’re not a grouchy insensitive dick for feeling as you do, which is what some HE commenters were saying yesterday.
There was even a guy who suggested that I was being sexist for saying the film mostly appeals to women. He even said that the boilerplate notion of some films being aimed at a mostly-female or mostly-guy audience was sexist. I think it’s pretty clear now that Room‘s fan base is mainly female. Rich herself has said that my statement that the film “preys upon maternal feelings” is a “fact.” Put that in your pipe, assholes.