So often, as screenwriters, we lock ourselves in our own little rooms. Like the main characters of Room, we get bound up by other people's rules, by our own comfort zone as screenwriters, by the movies that we have seen before. And we forget that every wall has another side, that there is actually something out there bigger than the story we know how to tell, than the movie that we've seen before, than the structure that we've been handed down, than the rules that have been imposed upon us.
And, Room, in its execution and its subject matter, really shows us what it is to transcend those rules, to transcend our expectations as we write, and to transcend the expectation of our audience for what our film is supposed to be.
Now, a lot of people who have studied the rules of screenwriting might look at a screenplay like Room and say "is this even a movie? Shouldn't this be a play?"
After all, nearly half of the film takes place in a single room. And, even when we get out of that room, most of the action still takes place in a single location: in the living room of a home.
And though this is certainly wonderful from a budgetary perspective, this is not something we see very often in movies. In fact, the dogma tells us this is impossible.
And, of course, there are reasons for that dogma. Movies are visual medium. By using the power of dynamic visual action, and the power of our cuts, we draw an audience into our stories. There a lot of reasons why these rules exist.
The problem happens when we start letting the rules rule the script, rather than the other way around. When we try to follow all the rules in a vacuum, rather than figuring out the rules we actually need for the story we want to tell...