October 14, 2015 / 2:41 PM / 3 years ago

Harrowing kidnap tale tackled in award-winning "Room"

Actor Brie Larson, Jacob Trembley and Joan Allen arrive for the premiere of the movie "Room" during the 40th Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, September 15, 2015. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Room”, a drama about a mother and son held captive for years, hits U.S. cinemas this week after scooping the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The movie, adapted from a Man Booker Prize-nominated novel by Emma Donoghue, took the People’s Choice Award at this year’s festival, whose past winners, including “The King’s Speech” and “12 Years a Slave” have gone on to enjoy Oscar success.

It tells the story of Jack (Jacob Tremblay) who has only ever known the small space he and his mother (Brie Larson) have been held in. As the story progresses with their escape, the effect of the room over their lives becomes more apparent.

“It has a universality to it ... this family is really trying to find its way back together and there’s just the wonder of the little boy being in the world for the first time,” co-star Joan Allen said at the Los Angeles premiere on Tuesday.

“It’s a very hopeful film because characters are trying to come to terms with something that is extremely difficult and painful and they’re really prevailing.”

The book and movie have echoes of the real-life case of Elisabeth Fritzl, who was held captive in a concealed part of her father’s home in Austria for years.

“I had to stay out of the sun to get rather pale,” Larson said of preparing for the role.

“I went on a restrictive diet ... and worked with a trauma specialist to talk about how the brain would organize itself around the sexual abuse and being trapped in a room that long but it didn’t stick to me.”

“Room” goes on release in New York and Los Angeles on Oct. 16. It comes to European cinemas in early 2016.

Reporting By Reuters Television in Los Angeles; Editing by Keith Weir

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